Aldi in Stirling

Over the more than 150 years since it was founded, Stirling has grown to become one of the most picturesque towns in the Hills – a peaceful village to those who live there and a quaint destination for the thousands of visitors who flock there each year.
Part of Stirling’s appeal certainly comes from its shady streets lined with exotic trees and its manicured gardens that add a splash of color during spring.
But a large contributor to the town’s quaint village atmosphere has also been the preservation of Stirling’s heart – a main street lined with boutique-style stores, cafes and restaurants, free from the commercial pollution of expansive grey parking lots with garish Neon signs and big brand names.
It is to be expected therefore that many residents and visitors would oppose big, new developments in the town – such as the proposed Aldi store – which could threaten the character and aesthetic appeal that make Stirling what it is.
Of course, like most small towns around Australia, Stirling has not been immune to mainstream developments and some of the nation’s – and the world’s – largest chains have already found their way into the heart of the village.
Some of these developments, like the proposed Aldi, were met with strong opposition from the Stirling District Residents Association.
Many of them still went ahead.
But without the fierce advocacy of groups like the association, Stirling could have a very different feel.
Stirling is already home to two major supermarket chains but such is their design and setback from the main street, they offer shoppers the convenience of choice, without detracting from Stirling’s village appeal.
If the proposed Aldi development goes ahead, the challenge for the German supermarket giant will be to hear the concerns of the residents and the residents association and ensure that the development is pursued in a way that is sympathetic to its surrounds and addresses the very real environmental concerns.
Stirling is not just another metropolitan concrete-jungle suburb.
So any new development should not be another city-style painted concrete box with a sea of car parking out the front.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.