A Pak'n Save originally scheduled to open in Feilding last December could be more than a decade from being built, Foodstuffs says.
It is a statement that has perplexed Manawatu Mayor Margaret Kouvelis, who says the company should be getting on with it or doing something else with the prime commercial land.
Construction of the 4500 square metre store on its fenced-off site on the corner of Aorangi and Gladstone streets has still yet to start after being stalled when Mainzeal collapsed last year.
The store, and 180 car parks surrounding it, was expected to take six to seven months to build and Foodstuffs told the Manawatu Standard last April that despite delays it would be built by the beginning of this year.
General manager of property development for Foodstuffs North Island Angela Bull said the site was now part of the company's land bank but there was no longer a date set down for building a store.
"Sometimes specific sites within this land bank may take a decade or more to mature to the point where population growth can support them. By taking an extended view we can ensure our stores are best positioned to serve the local community as it grows."
Ms Bull said stores owned by Foodstuffs in Manawatu needed to be economically sustainable and the company was continuing to assess each one, including the proposed New World at Rangitikei Line, for which a temporary tenant was still being sought.
Foodstuffs is a co-operative, with each store run locally. "As such, unlike a corporate business, individual stores must stack up financially on a stand-alone basis," Ms Bull said.
Mrs Kouvelis said the suggestion that Feilding needed to grow in population to support a Pak'n Save was odd.
"I assume that Foodstuffs would have done their research before committing to it in the first [place].
"If they're thinking along the lines that there is a decline in rural areas, I can tell them it's not the case for us. As a district Manawatu has grown by 5.6 per cent between this census and the last, and that's even after the boundary change [with Palmerston North]. It might be saying a bit more about Foodstuffs and where they are at than where we are at as a community."
Mrs Kouvelis said the delay was not helping Feilding, which was excited at the prospect of hosting a Pak'n Save.
"If they are not doing it, then what are they doing?
"It's prime land that they were going to be generating new jobs for the town on and now it's just sitting there."
Feilding Promotion chairman Michael Ford said the town was already well served by its supermarkets - Write Price, New World and Countdown - but the town would still welcome a Pak'n Save.
- Manawatu Standard
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