Launceston councillors are confident that roads can handle an increase in traffic with the addition of three more big box developments behind Bunnings, while also believing developers can plan for the risk of flooding.
Councillors voted 10-1 to approve the construction of three "bulky goods outlets" on Gleadow Street, submitted on behalf of Launceston developer Errol Stewart.
One will be a 2700-square-metre electrical goods store, another will be a 2350-square-metre furniture warehouse and the third is a 1880-square-metre office supplies outlet fronting onto the new Overend Way, all on the same section of land.
A new link road was proposed, with an entry from the main thoroughfare of Goderich Street.
The developer is yet to confirm the identity of the business tenants, but Mr Stewart earlier said they have already received enquiries.
Councillors discussed the matter with council officers at length prior to Thursday's meeting to go over traffic and flood studies before it came to a vote.
The area avoided serious inundation during the 2016 floods due to the levees, but increased intensity of flooding events in Launceston is a likely impact of climate change, as per modelling completed by council in 2019.
The modelling showed the big box area would suffer inundation - as would most of Invermay - in flooding events considered likely every 100 to 200 years.
Councillor Hugh McKenzie said businesses were well aware of the risks when moving into these premises, and the buildings were constructed with flood risk in mind.
"Council would prefer to have buildings such as this in flood prone zones, rather than residential areas, because they are built to a standard where the flooding impact on those buildings themselves are a lot less impactful on the basis that they are concrete block stand ups," he said.
"Emergency plans are put in place for the evacuation of the area in relation to anybody who may be on the site.
"The buildings themselves are designed to deal with this, and in relation to the North Esk River I think we get 12 hours notice of a flood peak, and in relation to the South Esk River we get 36 hours notice in relation to a flood peak."
But Councillor Tim Walker said the severity of flooding would become increasingly difficult to predict.
"Any development will increase the impact of a potential flood. It reduces the amount of permeable surface, it increase the debris and damage that can occur and will occur when it floods, not if it floods," he said.
"What I would like to see for this particular area, in fact any area that we have identified quite clearly as being prone to flooding, far more work being done to reassess the impacts and the risks of that."
Traffic in busy Invermay precinct will need to be reassessed
A traffic study found the development would generate 750 more movements in the area per day, and 860 on Saturday, while councillors were pleased with recent traffic flow improvements across Charles Street bridge.
But concern remained that the continual addition of development in the area - with more applications almost certain in coming years - would require greater forward-planning from council.
Councillor Alan Harris said while he was comfortable with the traffic report provided as part of the development application, he wanted to see the issue revisited in more detail in the future.
"I acknowledge the problem that continuing to add more developments there will add more movements of traffic, and having an overarching plan for the movement of cars around the city is still something that I'd like to see," he said.
Cr McKenzie said it would be an evolving process.
"It means that we will get traffic, and that over time traffic will ... increase and that may affect the performance of the road in relation to the things that we do from time to time and that will be an ever evolvement of the city that we live in," he said.
Discussion also centred on how the Launceston CBD could cope with an ever-expanding big box precinct in Invermay, with councillors conceding that CBD retail would need to find ways to adapt to changes in consumer behaviour.
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