TRADERS in Ballina's CBD have a bright neon light at the end of some gloomy economic times, with the development application for the $6m redevelopment of Little Woolies now with Ballina Shire Council.
It's been well-reported that the CBD has been struggling in recent times.
It's impossible to hide the number of empty shops, and many business owners and managers have reported significant downturns in trade since a fire closed Little Woolies late last year - even the Salvation Army Family Store has felt the impact.
Steve Clarke, the owner of Babalino's Bakery in The Boulevard next door to the Woolworths' River St site, said while he has survived the loss of his bakery's neighbour, he expects business to improve dramatically once the supermarket is open again.
"If Woolies do a good job - and you know they will - it (Little Woolies) will be shiny and new, and it will be busier," he said.
The proposed new Little Woolies will be bigger, with the floor size to increase from 1550sq m to 2757sq m.
The current supermarket will be demolished and the new one will have direct River St frontage, instead of the car park at the front, and the entrance to the
new rear car park will be via the current site of a home on Cherry St which was owned by the late Barry Crowley.
The new supermarket will employ 80 people - an increase of 22 positions above the existing 58 full-time, part-time and casual workers.
Ballina Chamber of Commerce secretary Glenn Costello said he hoped the application would be assessed by the council quickly, but the council says a determination on a development of this size could take several months.