Friday, June 03, 2005  

Letter:Macklan Gordon Gridley JP

Dear Mr Fletcher,

Subject: Proposed Coles Development 47-67 Mulga Road, Oatley West

Respectfully, if your PA does not pass this letter on for your attention, it could cost your Company dearly.

I am writing to respectfully request your Company to reconsider your interest in the above site for the following reasons:

1) While my wife and I live at Neutral Bay, we often visit one of my best friends who lives at Oatley. Further, we are always struck by the pleasant village atmosphere of the area, which as you would know is definitely not conducive to large developments, perhaps the worst type of such development being a supermarket.

2) I understand that none of the residents living in the area wish to have the nature of their peaceful suburb dramatically altered with an explosion of traffic, trucks and the scattering of trolleys far and wide and the necessary regular and noisy collection of same.

3) You are no doubt well aware that the roads and lanes in the area could not possibly handle the expected traffic demanded by a supermarket. Furthermore, widening and making suitable such roads for safe access and constant delivery of stock by heavy trucks, would, in itself, ruin the aforementioned village atmosphere.

4) Please Mr Fletcher, put yourself in these residents shoes for just one moment and imagine how they must be feeling..

I personally have been in a similar situation to yours before recently retiring as BP Australia's Property Manager. No matter where we intended to build there were always some local objections. But never did we proceed when the entire local population were outraged by our intentions. You and I both know that before seriously inspecting a site, models must be constructed detailing the amount of probable residential trade, and also, the expected passing trade, and traffic congestion etc. Even rain drainage capacity, night lighting for safety and security, blockage of sunlight, the proximity of traffic lights etc.

In my view, the location of your proposed Oatley West development is in a most unsuitable location having regard to all of the relevant aspects. Furthermore, it would overwhelmingly rely on residential trade.

Let me advise the obvious - that whenever BP Australia built under similar circumstances (little passing trade and extremely hostile residential objections), not only was the service station boycotted by most, but we found that even our surrounding BP sites some kilometres distant, suffered falling profits due presumably to a wide "backlash protest".

Further, windows were forever being smashed, trolleys stolen, and graffiti artists became most active on our walls (and they continue to do so - out of proportion with "normal" graffiti proliferation one would expect. As an example, have a look at the record of BP North Richmond (built about 8 years ago) and the surrounding service stations. The problems still continue today, and in hindsight, I am sure that BP would never have built at North Richmond with such evident local outrage.

Coles Myer Ltd generally enjoys a good corporate citizen image. Again I ask you Mr Fletcher, please do not put dollars in front of the general wellbeing of a beautiful and unique residential area such as Oatley. I am not suggesting that you should never build in anyone's backyard, but from my experience there are always thousands of other more suitable sites where local objections are scarce and sometimes even non existent, as your store could well generate jobs and greater profits for nearby retail businesses in a high density area.

However, apparently every local, as well as the local Council is fiercely opposed to your Oatley plans. Not just 30%, 50%, or even 90%, but closer perhaps to 99.9%.

In conclusion, I advise that my wife and I have always shopped at our closest supermarket - Coles, located in the Big Bear complex at Neutral Bay. If your disastrous and, I believe. most selfish Oatley development proceeds, we will be travelling the extra half kilometre to Woolworths Neutral Bay, and will never enter a Coles or Myers store again.

We will also encourage our friends and neighbours to do the same, after detailing your Company's complete disregard for the quality of Oatley residents lives. Of course this is not a threat, but what would you do in my shoes, and in those of the outraged Oatley residents?

Mr Fletcher, a company can be extremely successful, and have a heart as well. Thank you for your attention.

Yours faithfully,

Macklan Gordon Gridley JP
Neutral Bay

PS. Copies of this letter have been sent to Mr Gerry Masters, as well as all Sydney mainline newspapers and relevant local papers, and the newsrooms of all Sydney television and radio stations.

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