Banyule Council Faces Backlash Over Woolworths Deal to Demolish Rosanna Library

Banyule Council's $16.5M deal with Woolworths to demolish Rosanna library and build a supermarket faces strong local opposition over lack of transparency and fair value.

Geeta Pillai
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Banyule Council Faces Backlash Over Woolworths Deal to Demolish Rosanna Library

Banyule Council Faces Backlash Over Woolworths Deal to Demolish Rosanna Library

Banyule City Council's $16.5 million deal with Woolworths to demolish the Rosanna library in Melbourne's north-east and sell part of the site to the company for a new supermarket is facing strong opposition from local residents. Critics argue that the process was improper and does not provide good value for the council.

The council is moving forward with plans to remove the old library building to make way for a new, expanded library that is expected to open in late 2025. The new facility will be double the size of the existing library and feature additional spaces for children, co-working, community meetings, and a rooftop terrace.

However, the partnership with Woolworths, which involves selling a portion of the library site to the company for a new supermarket, has drawn the criticism of some residents. They claim that the deal was made without sufficient transparency and that the council is not getting a fair return on the $16.5 million project.

Why this matters: The controversy surrounding the Rosanna library redevelopment highlights the challenges local governments face in balancing community needs with commercial partnerships. The outcome of this dispute could establish a model for similar projects in other municipalities.

Under the terms of the agreement, Woolworths will cover the costs of town planning, approvals, demolition, and the construction of a shared underground carpark. This arrangement is expected to save the council money on the project. The total budget for the library redevelopment is $16.5 million, which includes a $1.5 million grant from the Victorian Government and $2.75 million from the sale of land to Woolworths.

Despite these financial considerations, the deal has faced significant pushback from the local community. Residents have expressed concerns about the propriety of the process and whether the council is getting a good deal for the valuable land being sold to Woolworths.

As the dispute continues, the council is moving ahead with the demolition of the old library building. The new Rosanna library, which promises to be a significant upgrade over the existing facility, is slated to open its doors in late 2025. However, the controversy surrounding the Woolworths partnership is likely to remain a point of contention for the local community in the months and years ahead.

Key Takeaways

  • Banyule Council plans $16.5M redevelopment of Rosanna library, including Woolworths deal.
  • New library to be double the size with expanded facilities, opening late 2025.
  • Woolworths deal involves selling part of site for new supermarket, drawing community criticism.
  • Critics claim lack of transparency and council not getting fair return on the project.
  • Controversy highlights challenges of balancing community needs and commercial partnerships.