Stafford St is viewed as one of, if not the best, shopping centres in New Zealand by wholesalers working with cruise ships, and should be protected, business and tourism leader Wendy Smith said.
Mrs Smith, Aoraki Development Business and Tourism chief executive, was responding to news of a second large retail centre being proposed for a 13,000 square metre site on Hilton Highway opposite the turn-off to Pleasant Point.
A 17,000sqm plus development has already been approved for the Showgrounds Hill with Count-down as the anchor tenant.
Mrs Smith said Stafford St was outstanding because of its landscape with the Bay Hill at the top, but also because of the mix of owner-operated unique boutiques, with big box and chain outlets.
For cruise ships, Stafford St was a "unique offering" that the town should be keen to hang on to, she said. "It is important to encourage development, we don't want them to think we don't have open minds, I think that's very important. But we also do want to protect one of the best shopping centres in the country."
She said if the new proposal was similar to what was planned for the Showgrounds site, she would be surprised if the town could sustain them all. "The risk for the businesses that choose to go into them is that they may end up splitting where the customers choose to go."
Timaru Mayor Damon Odey could not be contacted.
- © Fairfax NZ News