Change.org petition calls for Woolworths to remove the Food for Less eyesore

Call for action: The Food for Less building has been vacant for five years. An online petition calls for Woolworths to remove the Food for Less eyesore in Port Macquarie.

Call for action: The Food for Less building has been vacant for five years. An online petition calls for Woolworths to remove the Food for Less eyesore in Port Macquarie.

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An online petition has called on Woolworths to take action about the Food for Less building eyesore.

Port Macquarie resident Gary Cuttell launched the Change.org petition, which on April 17 had about 324 supporters.

The Food for Less building has been empty for five years. 

Mr Cuttell said the state of the building was not a good look for the town.

“People outside of Port Macquarie, who visit the area, have responded to the petition as well,” Mr Cuttell said.

“It is not just the perception of locals that visitors have noticed this eyesore.

“Visitors are saying that themselves.”

Woolworths had plans to develop its Food for Less site and the Plaza car park next door.

That came to an end in September 2015 when the supermarket giant withdrew from the expression of interest process to buy the Plaza car park.

Woolworths has existing development approval to revamp its former Food for Less supermarket.

The petition said the people of Port Macquarie have had to put up with the derelict Food for Less building in the middle of our town for five years now and is time Woolworths did something about it.

The petition urges Woolworths to “remove this eyesore”.

“Woolworths owns the land and I completely understand they need to make a decision about what they do with it,” Mr Cuttell told the Port News.

“I’d like them to make that decision sooner rather than later and have some movement on that site rather than it to remain derelict.”

An email response from mayor Peter Besseling, which is shared on the petition website, said the council had written to Woolworths on a number of occasions and had also sought advice in relation to cleaning up/removal of the building.

“There has been no indication as yet from Woolworths as to their intentions and council have no ability to compel demolition of the building,” the mayor wrote.

The Food for Less supermarket, on the corner of William and Short streets, shut in April 2012 as Woolworths considered the smaller format store no longer met community needs.

It has stood idle since then.

Mr Cuttell said the building looked like it was abandoned, and it kind of looked like this town was in decline, which was not the case.

“I don’t think that’s what the town wants to project,” he said.

The Port News contacted Woolworths for comment.

In December 2016, Woolworths told the Port News that no immediate plans existed to sell the old Food For Less store and it was working with a number of community stakeholders on strategies to improve the appearance of the site.

A mural has since been added to the Kooloonbung Creek frontage of the building.

Go to the Change.org website to support the petition.

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