SHOPKEEPERS and retirement village residents were on opposite sides when the public had its final say last week on the $238 million Kirrawee brick pit development plan.
David Hunt, representing Jannali shop owners, said their businesses and those in other neighbouring centres would be badly affected unless the retail component was cut by at least half.
But June Wilson and Arthur Hardy, representing "the majority" of residents at Donald Robinson Village, near the brick pit, strongly supported the plan.
Mrs Wilson said the disabled, elderly and wider community anticipated being able "to shop, meet and greet, and stroll across the piazza, past a water feature, to the park".
The Planning Assessment Commission has promised a final decision "in a matter of weeks" after conducting the public meeting at Miranda RSL Club last Thursday.
Only a dozen speakers addressed the 90-minute meeting, with most opposed to the size and scale of the proposed development.
It would be a commercial, retail and residential complex with a public park, and comprise two towers of 14 and 11 storeys, and seven buildings of three-to-seven storeys.
Mr Hunt, who has operated a menswear and surfwear shop at Jannali for 40 years, said the Planning Department's report, recommending approval, was flawed and outdated.
He said the assertion that trade at other shopping centres would rebound to 2007 levels "beggared belief".
Mr Hunt said the proposed retail area of 14,370 square metres exceeded the 10,678 square metre area in an earlier plan, rejected by the Land and Environment Court largely because of its impact on other shops.
Since 1999, Jannali has been earmarked for a new Woolworths supermarket, but this would be unlikely to proceed if the Kirrawee project was given approval.
Mr Hunt said maintaining the viability of shopping centres was essential for the well-being of the community, with the safety of rail passengers among matters to be considered.
There were already four empty shops in the main street of Jannali and it was likely there would be more if the plan went ahead.
Mrs Wilson said a new town centre would put Kirrawee on the map.
"No one knows where Kirrawee is — you have to spell it when someone rings up," she said.
Mrs Wilson said that when the plan was announced village residents had thought "at long last someone has a vision for our whole community to build something to be proud of".
The department's report had answered many criticisms by stating the project would provide homes for more than 432 people as well as 1000 jobs, and the local shopping strip would benefit from an influx of new visitors.
Mrs Wilson said that new shops would benefit the disabled from two nearby retirement villages, and another proposed for the nearby Telstra site, who used walkers or motorised scooters.
However, she said residents opposed the removal of a 200-space public car park from the original plan.
What do you think the decision will be?