Centre feels bite of north trading

ROSE City Shoppingworld is feeling the effects of seven-day trading in Toowoomba, with shopper numberstaking a dive since it was introduced in the Garden City.

Council this week decided not to take a position on Sunday trading in Warwick at the Industrial Relations Commission in October despite the public being overwhelmingly against it.

Mayor Ron Bellingham presented “commercial in confidence” information to councillors before they arrived at the decision.

Cr Bellingham would not confirm whether the information related to Rose City Shoppingworld or its proposed expansion, but he did say the information “may have assisted in the decision that was eventually made”.

He said the wording of the council motion was carefully crafted to express the consumer opinion in the region.

The Daily News asked the mayor whether council would be considered weak for not making a strong decision either way.

“No matter which way you look at it, it's a no-win situation as far as council is concerned,” Cr Bellingham said.

“The commercial reality is that seven-day trading is already on the Darling Downs and it's had an impact.”

Cr Bellingham confirmed he had discussions on thefuture development of the shopping centre but they would “remain in confidence”.

Rose City Shoppingworld manager Jason Gard said he would have preferred council support seven-day trading, but that he understood the reasoning behind thedecision.

“All we would be doing is removing the restrictions to allow people to trade,” Mr Gard said.

He said should Sunday trading come into play in Warwick, individual stores in the centre would not be forced to open.

Mr Gard confirmed his centre had been affected by seven-day trading in Toowoomba and also with the opening of Warwick's Supa IGA on Sundays.

This follows whispers Rose City Shoppingworld store owners are complaining their trade is at an all-time low.

Mr Gard would not comment about the Rose City expansion and referred us to Robert McConaghy, owner of the group which owns the shopping centre.

Mr McConaghy said the planning stage of the devel- opment was continuing and claimed that a legal fight over heritage-listed Plumb's Chambers was now over.

He also said seven-day trading and the shopping centre expansion should not be linked.

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