Tornadoes flatten everything in their path. The new Chadstone shopping centre, already Australia’s largest shopping centre, is to get bigger thanks to a decision by the Victorian State Government on Wednesday this week. The new Chadstone will be a tornado against small business – sucking up sales which would otherwise have gone to small businesses for many kilometers surrounding what will be a monolithic shopping centre.
This giant of a shopping centre will now grow a further 50%.
I feel for the hundreds of high street and centre based small businesses already struggling in suburbs surrounding Chadstone. This new development is an unreasonable and unnecessary challenging to their businesses. The south eastern suburbs of Melbourne are well serviced by shopping centres. There is no need for Chadstone to become a giant killer. Being the biggest in Australia ought to be enough.
The State Government has a social responsibility to the small businesses which will be affected and the knock on effect for families of owners and employees. Sure the new Chadstone will create jobs but what about the loss of the local business, the place where suburbs gain and pass on their character? This will be lost forever. Socially, this decision stinks. Mall shopping is, well, mall shopping. It’s not the same as poking around the independent retailers in high street, learning the unique qualities of a suburb. Such adventures are to be cherished and not abandoned as the Victorian State Government has done.
This is a bad decision and one the government ought to reconsider.