Community co-operative supermarket to anchor Giralang Shops

Community co-operative supermarket to anchor Giralang Shops

Giralang shops – or at least the construction site that will one day be shops again – needs an anchor tenant. I will trial using the community co-operative model to bring something different and viable to Giralang.

Securing an “anchor tenant” is the only viable solution to the saga that is Giralang Shops.

The Labor party has continually dodged the problem for 15 years, blaming the private sector. While there is some truth to that, the government should be an advocate for our communities, especially when the solution is out of reach for residents.

The Liberals policy for the shops demonstrates a lack of understanding of the problem; one phone call to the developer shows they are not interested in selling the block back to the government. Further, the community does not want residential ground floor space – anything there should be community focussed.

Construction has not started because there is no anchor tenant. There have been problems with the commercial reality of opening a supermarket here. First, planning guidelines scuttled a larger supermarket. Next, strong competition from the nearby Coles is a consideration for any generic supermarket. Finally, COVID has had an impact on everything.

A community-owned solution

If we are going to spend money or resources to fix this problem – which we should at this point – I want to invest that in the Giralang community, not a large chain supermarket, or adding value for the developer.

To move forward, I propose a formal trial of something different. I will establish a co-operative, owned by the Giralang community. This co-operative group will sign on as the anchor tenant, allowing construction to start immediately. The trial will be supported, monitored, and assessed. It can be rolled out to other communities if it is successful.

The co-operative will deliver a unique offering to the people of Giralang, Yerrabi, and Canberra. With Coles so close, it is important that the anchor tenant at Giralang differentiates itself. Attracting customers from all over Canberra will be key to remaining viable.

The trial will fund startup costs including a professional community facilitator, business planning, and store fit-out. Investing these funds in the Giralang community makes more sense than incentivising a large chain, or buying the block back from a developer who doesn’t want to sell.

My vision for Giralang shops

With a community-owned anchor tenant, every resident in Giralang will have an interest in the ongoing viability of the shops. The co-op will offer something localised, sustainable, and dynamic. This offering can update as the needs of the community change, so too will the co-op.

With such a strong anchor tenant, other retailers in the space will thrive. There will be competition for the space, ensuring a high quality and diverse range of options for locals to enjoy.

Giralang will once again have a focal point and meeting place in the suburb.

Added value

Giralang public school next door could be invited to participate in the co-op, learning about community development, sustainability, and local business.

The Buy Nothing Project has a strong presence in Kaleen/Giralang/Lawson (Facebook group). The co-op model is very compatible with the spirit of the Buy Nothing project, and could make a great partnership. No other supermarket would encourage locals to buy less. This could be part of the unique offering at Giralang shops.

Canberra region vineyards could be invited to showcase their wares if the co-op decided to sell alcohol, with regular wine tastings hosted by the co-op.


  • Secure funding for a community facilitator to establish the parameters of a community co-operative.
  • Develop a business plan for the community-owned anchor tenancy.
  • Fund start-up costs on behalf of the Giralang community.
  • Support the co-op as they establish themselves in the local market.

8 thoughts on “Community co-operative supermarket to anchor Giralang Shops

  1. Brett Goyne

    Hi David

    Nikkias Diamond may not be interested in selling. When the delopment of a larger supermarket was an option, the ACTGovernment sold them the car park and the shops and carpark lease were joined with a condition that the developer build within a year and a day.
    They are in default of that condition.

    A 1000 square metre shop may not be viable, but given Giralang’s central location, many other commercial operations are viable. Nikkias has always wanted to maximise the gain for them from as much residential development as possible and its not a residential lease.

    1. David Pollard Post author

      You are right, Nikias Diamond are not interested in selling. I have spoken with them a few times during the campaign. Providing an alternate anchor tenant is the best way forward, and one owned by the community has many benefits.

      I have told the developer about my proposal and they like the idea. With it on the table, I believe that it removes what should be the last barrier to build.

  2. Brett Goyne

    Thanks David, one Labor member also had a positive approach
    My wife and I will vote for you both. Thanks, Brett

    1. David Pollard Post author

      Excellent, thank you Brett. Of course you are free to put us in any order you wish, but that #1 vote is critical for an Independent. Once a major party candidate is preferenced on your ballot, it is unlikely that vote will ever flow on to the Independent. The opposite direction is much more likely to happen.


  3. Carly

    I love this idea and have shared your site with my friends in Giralang. Have not decided who I will vote on but your campaign is refreshing compared to the usual rhetoric we get bombarded with.

    Thanks David, good luck!

    1. David Pollard Post author

      Thanks Carly, I appreciate that! Spreading the word is a huge help. That is how we make our communities better.

      If you do decide to vote for me, that #1 vote is critical for an Independent. As soon as you number any major party candidate, it is very likely your vote will stay with that party.

  4. Jeannie Young

    Hi David,
    it sounds a very positive idea.

    How will you, as an independent and if elected, ensure that this idea moves forward?

    Is there any support for this from either of the major parties?

    1. David Pollard Post author

      The majors know about the proposal, though neither have given any support at this stage. I wouldn’t expect them to give any attention to a minor party candidate during the campaign though.

      Basically, this is a commitment no different to the ones the Greens are making. They and I may or may not be in a position to force policies to happen, but some may happen regardless – if they are good policies.

      If my support is needed to form government, I can and intend to make this policy a condition of that support. If it is not needed to form government, there are still ways to agitate for this to happen. Given it is a solution that can work, I hope to get support from whichever party does form government.


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