THE friendly battle between Logan and Ipswich to win the affections of bulk-buy grocery giant Costco is ramping up amid whispers the retailer is ready to choose.
It’s been almost a year since the Ipswich Masters Home Improvement site was first flagged as the potential new home for a second Costco in the state’s south-east.
Now the city is stepping up its bid for the wholesaler whose arrival in North Lakes has been proven to force down petrol prices while bringing another level of competition to the grocery market.
Boonah mum Sharni Lewis has only ever been inside a Costco store once, while she was visiting Melbourne, but said it was an unforgettable experience with a huge range of products.
“Everything was supersized,” Sharni said.
“I’m so excited at the thought Costco would open a store in Ipswich. I live in Boonah so North Lakes is just too far to drive but it would be amazing to bulk buy food in Ipswich.
“I wouldn’t drive to Logan either. I hope Costco chooses Ipswich.”
Ipswich City Council confirmed it is still in talks with Costco and although there are plenty of potential sites around the city, there’s no concrete commitment yet.
Mayor Paul Pisasale is hoping when the time arrives the proposal comes to his council.
He said Ipswich has plenty to offer Costco that Logan doesn’t, including a younger demographic and a population growth forecast unrivalled across the south-east corner.
If Costco decides to make Ipswich its new home, residents would benefit from more than adding another grocery competitor to the local market.
The “Costco effect” has been proven at North Lakes where petrol prices plummeted when the wholesale giant moved in.
RACQ’s Renee Smith said service stations nearby were forced to drop their prices to compete meaning motorists didn’t need to be a Costco member to benefit.
“We saw service stations, particularly in North Lakes and Mango Hill, drop their prices which was great news for locals,” Ms Smith said.
“It had the biggest impact at the peak of the petrol cycle, so that when prices started going up, people living near the Costco didn’t feel that pinch because everyone in the area still had to compete with Costco’s prices.
“Lately Ipswich has had some of the cheapest petrol prices in Queensland, it really has been the place to fill up.
“If Costco moved in, we’d likely see petrol prices in the neighbouring suburbs dropping their prices to compete.”
Since the announcement that Costco was looking for a new south-east Queensland site, several parcels of land in Ipswich have been rumoured to be in the US grocery giant’s sights.
In December 2016 the Masters site at Springfield seemed the likely spot, although a property at Wacol had also been flagged as the potential new home for Costco and there is also chatter about the superstore setting up at Bundamba.
Costco has been tight-lipped about its intentions and talk of Logan being the chosen city have been raging since 2015.
A spokesperson has previously hinted that any new Queensland site would follow the same design and layout plan as the North Lakes site with ground-level retail, fuel station and parking.
Originally Published: https://www.qt.com.au
BUDGET: Cash splashed to fix Ipswich’s congested highway
ONE of Ipswich’s worst intersections will be fixed with the Federal Government committing to fund an upgrade to the Cunningham Highway.
In his third budget, Treasurer Scott Morrison revealed $170 million would go towards improving the dreaded Amberley Interchange.
The project will include a realignment of the highway between Yamanto and Ebenezer Creek and an upgrade of the Ipswich-Rosewood Rd.
Expansions and growing military activity at RAAF Base Amberley has put pressure on the interchange.
The $170 million funding injection also comes as the Ipswich City Council considers a proposal from Lantrak to move 1 million tonnes of landfill each year to rehabilitate the New Hope coal mine at Jeebropilly.
According to the application more than 250 heavy vehicles would transit the highway each day.
The government says the Cunningham Highway upgrade will “improve travel reliability and reduce congestion”.
It is expected the Queensland Labor Government will match the funding to start the $340 million project.
Federal Labor MP Shayne Neumann confirmed his party would offer bipartisan support and also commit to fixing the highway in a “major boost for the economic capacity of the Ipswich region”.
“The road takes 2700 heavy vehicle movements a day, and plays a significant role in transporting people and freight between Brisbane and Sydney,” he said.
“These vital upgrades to the Cunningham Highway have long been identified on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List.
“That’s why it’s disappointing the Turnbull LNP Government have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to fund this project.”
Become an entrepreneur
OLDER residents in Ipswich will be encouraged to become entrepreneurs so they can stay in the workforce longer.
The Federal Government will roll out 20 new entrepreneurship facilitators across the regions over the next four years.
Ipswich, along with central Queensland, Ballina and Tweed, will benefit from the program.
The small business experts will teach mature-age people how to start and maintain sustainable businesses.
The Federal Government has set aside $2.7 million in the 2018-19 financial year for the project.
A further $15 million will fund the program until June of 2022.
The government has also committed to continuing the Job Change project that assists mature-age workers to remain in the workforce as retirement and pension ages creep upwards.
Amberley cashes in on Defence spending
RAAF Base Amberley will take a share in millions of dollars in upgrades in the Defence portfolio.
A new Air Traffic Control Radar will be installed at Amberley as part of an estimated $96 million investment in new technology across several bases.
Working accommodation, maintenance, warehousing and training facilities will be built to support the introduction of the Growler Airborne Electronic Attack Capability aircraft.
The project is scheduled for completion by early 2021.
A C-17 maintenance facility, aircraft apron and associated infrastructure will also be constructed.
It is scheduled for completion by early 2019.
Australia’s largest solar farm planned near Ipswich
Somerset already hosts a number of energy projects including hydroelectric plants at Wivenhoe Dam and Splityard Creek Dam.Contributed
AUSTRALIA’S largest solar farm has been proposed for a rural site near Ipswich.
The proposed plant, east of Harlin along the D’Aguilar Highway, would have final capacity of 1,500 megawatts, six times larger than its closest rival.
Plans include two substations and the capacity to hire to 60 people.
The Sunraysia solar farm in NSW is Australia’s largest under construction, at 250 megawatts.
Other Australian solar farms of up to 1,000 megawatts have been proposed.
Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said it was a complex development application from Ethos Urban planning consultants.
The company has been involved in other large infrastructure projects throughout Australia, on behalf of Sunshine Energy Australia Pty Ltd.
“We understand the attractions of the site include its proximity to the existing high voltage power network and proximity to Brisbane,” Cr Lehmann said.
“The site has been largely cleared in the past and is within one hour of the 570 MW pumped storage hydroelectric plant at Splityard Creek which is also in the Somerset Regional Council area.
“The development application includes two substations, facilities for up to 60 employees and provision for battery storage.”
“The application has been referred to various government departments and agencies for their input and we will carefully assess it against our planning scheme like any other proposal.”
Somerset Regional Council is reviewing the application.
Education City link approved by Ipswich Council
A FOOTPATH that will link Springfield’s Education City to the Robelle Domain Parklands in Springfield Central has been approved by Ipswich City Council.
Plans were lodged by Springfield Land Corporation on February 2 this year and first approved on February 26.
However Ipswich City Council did not approve the use of Hoop Pines to landscape the pathway.
After some negotiating a new decision notice was issued on April 9 with the condition stipulating that Hoop Pines were not to be used deleted.
The land where the pathway is being constructed is lot 810 Sinnathamby Boulevard, Springfield Central.
Described as an open space boulevard pathway, the public concrete path and associated landscaping work has been approved in full subject to conditions.
Footpath lighting is to be installed, and a spotter catcher is to be engaged to supervise vegetation removal and ensure any native fauna including native bees are identified and relocated.
The spotter catcher is to submit a report before and after vegetation clearing works are undertaken detailing what wildlife has been identified and preventative and remedial actions taken to ensure animal safety.