16 January 2024

Cooktown could have a new supermarket in time for Christmas

| Matt Nicholls
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The new supermarket in Cooktown will have a similar design to the Roma IGA store.

Cooktown is in line to get a much-needed new supermarket after the owner of the existing IGA building put forward his plans late last year.

Graham Cornett is no longer involved in the operations of the local supermarket, but still owns the existing Cornetts IGA building in Cooktown and has grand plans for a new one.

Cook Shire Council will soon vote on the development application, which has been years in the making.

The proposed site for the new supermarket is on Savage Street, behind Cooktown Hardware on the outskirts of town.

Mr Cornett said while it was not the perfect location, there were few other options.

“We looked at four other sites in town and we just couldn’t get them to stack up.

“One would have been perfect but it was far too expensive.

“The good thing about this site is that it’s keeping truck movements out of the CBD.”

Mr Cornett, who owns other supermarket buildings across the state, said Cooktown needed a modern store.

“The existing supermarket can’t cope with the growth of the town, especially in the tourist season,” he said.

“It ends up losing business because it can’t meet the demands of the community.”

The proposed site on Savage Street was purchased by Graham Cornett specifically for the supermarket.

Pending the council’s approval, which will also hinge on the community’s feedback to the development application, the new supermarket could be finished this year, Mr Cornett said.

“Ideally, I’d like it done before Christmas, but next year might be more realistic,” he told Cape York Weekly.

“Once the approvals are in we can get up and running fairly quickly in the dry season.”

A decision on the application could be made later this month, depending on feedback from the community.

However, if there are concerns that need addressing, the process could be pushed back to April as councils in Queensland enter caretaker mode at the end of January ahead of March local government elections.

“We’ve worked really closely with the Cook Shire Council staff throughout this process,” Mr Cornett said.

“We actually put something forward in July/August and the council came back to us with about 30 questions that needed to be addressed.

“Some of those were around traffic management and environmental surveys. But the council has been really thorough and good to work with. They know the community needs a new supermarket.”

Concerns were also raised about the proposed location, with the council indicating its preference to keep the supermarket closer to the CBD, although Cape York Weekly understands that is no longer an issue.

The Savage Street lot would not need to be re-zoned to house a supermarket.

Based on initial feedback, the nearby neighbours will have no objections.

The new supermarket would be located behind the Cooktown Hardware on the outskirts of town.

Mr Cornett said he spoke with the adjacent landowners last year to discuss his plans.

“There were no objections from them,” he said.

“We’ll have to see what the feedback is when submissions close, but we’re really hopeful the community will get behind the project.”

Mr Cornett recently opened a new supermarket in Roma, which has drawn positive reviews from the community.

“The Cooktown store will be even bigger than that one,” he said.

“I think Roma is 1800m2, while this one would be about 2200m2.

“Considering the current supermarket is 800m2, it’s a major upgrade for Cooktown.”

Submissions on the development application close tomorrow (Wednesday) and the full scope of the project can be viewed on the Cook Shire website.

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