The proposed $80 million expansion of Bunbury Forum will go before the Bunbury City Council later this month for the council’s final seal of approval.
The council’s support will be a major stepping stone for the Forum’s owner, Atlas Point Pty Ltd, which is hoping to anchor the redevelopment with a national department store such as Myer or David Jones.
If the council does not back the proposal, which adds more than 16,000sq m of lettable floor space, the redevelopment plans may be shelved.
A year ago the council decided it would support the redevelopment, despite fears it would draw shoppers away from Bunbury’s CBD and cause a downturn in trade for retailers across the city.
While the council backed the redevelopment, the proposal was rejected by the WA Planning Commission, which ruled it would go against the Greater Bunbury planning policy which dictates department stores should be located only in the CBD.
The council challenged the commission’s decision at the State Administrative Tribunal, which this month instructed the council to decide if the Forum expansion would fit into the city’s local planning scheme.
If the council grants approval the matter will return to the Tribunal next month.