Nairne’s future looks a little brighter

The Chapman’s smallgoods factory in Nairne has been neglected for almost 15 years, but could finally become the site of something the town has longed for many years – a supermarket.
Plans to establish a small Foodland or IGA are a step closer to reality after the Mt Barker Council pushed forward on its intention to rezone the site of the abandoned factory.
The Chapman’s factory is owned by Adelaide-based consultant engineer Lelio Bibbo, who intends to bring the site back to life instead of leaving it as a constant reminder of the town’s past.
The smallgoods factory thrived for many years and formed a strong part of the town’s history until it closed in 2002.
Aside from most of the buildings being in a state of disrepair, Mr Bibbo has many other hurdles to clear including site contamination and heritage listing issues.
Nevertheless, the people of Nairne, Brukunga and Dawesley are fortunate that a developer has plans for the site instead of letting it continue to become an eyesore.
A supermarket in Nairne will invigorate the street, increase vibrancy and be convenient for residents.
Nairne is the second largest town in the Mt Barker district, yet it has no supermarket to service its 5000 plus residents (Census, 2011).
In the past Nairne’s main street traders have not shied away from admitting that business in the town is tough and luring people to the main street is difficult.
Nairne lacks the big name petrol stations and the supermarket giants which are found at almost every corner in Mt Barker and Littlehampton.
The mixed use zone and redevelopment policy the council has suggested for the Chapman’s site opens up opportunities for not only a supermarket, but also small shops and offices.
Not only has the opening of the Bald Hills Road freeway interchange been a welcome addition for the people of Nairne, but a supermarket will give them more reason to bypass Mt Barker and Littlehampton and shop in their town.
Mr Bibbo’s appearance at a community meeting in Nairne on October 19 is expected to uncover the beginning of a promising future.