Big box update
Queensland gets more Bunnings stores
Approval has been given for a Bunnings Warehouse to be located at 89 West Street, Mount Isa QLD 4825
Approval has been given for a Bunnings Warehouse to be located at 89 West Street, Mount Isa QLD 4825
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Pesticides harmful to bees banned and expansion plans for stores in WA and NSW
HNN Sources
Bunnings have gained approval for a store in Mount Isa (QLD) while building work has begun for its Warwick (QLD) store; Bunnings stores will no longer stock products that have pesticides found to be harmful to bees; East Albury store welcomes customers; and Albany outlet in WA will become twice its size.
Mount Isa approval, Warwick start

Mount Isa City Council has given the go ahead for the Bunnings store to be located at 89 West Street. It will have a total retail area of 5607.5sqm.

The matter was discussed in closed session at the council's meeting in mid-January and the decision was approved with 61 conditions listed in the report. They include a 1.8m acoustic fence which must be installed on the southern boundary to reduce noise and a 3m wide densely planted landscaped buffer.

The developer will also need to install artificial turf or green coloured concrete on the Alma Street verge. Allowable opening hours are from 6am-9pm Monday to Friday and 6am-6pm Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
Construction on Warwick store

There are signs that building is about to start on a larger Bunnings Warehouse store on Canning Street, Warwick (QLD).

Several site offices and fencing have been erected on the site, according to the Warwick Daily News. Bunnings general manager - property Andrew Marks told the newspaper that Hutchinson Builders have been appointed as the builder of the new Warwick store. He said:
They are currently on site with works to commence shortly. Hutchinson Builders will engage local contractors from Warwick to work on elements of the new warehouse where appropriate.
As part of the development approval process, we are required to undertake road upgrades which will see the unsealed sections of Condamine and Canning Streets bitumen sealed.

Mr Marks said the new store is expected to open in late 2018.
Bee pesticide banned by Bunnings

Bunnings will pull a pesticide from its shelves that has allegedly been linked to the deaths of bees. The move affects all stores across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

In a statement, Bunnings Warehouse said it will remove its Neonicotinoids -- often referred to as neonics -- products, like Yates Confidor, from shelves by the end of the year. It said the timeframe will give them time to educate customers about natural alternatives. 

Neonicotinoids is a class of pesticide -- which some studies suggest affects bees' navigation and immune systems, resulting in colony death. They are a popular insecticide worldwide, found in soil and seed treatments, and domestic and commercial lawn care products.

The big box retailer made the decision in November last year to remove the product from its UK and Australian stores amid declining British bee populations, but admitted it was based on precautions rather than scientific evidence. The move appears to be part of a growing movement towards chemical-free gardening.

A Bunnings spokeswoman told Fairfax Media:
There's a lot of conflicting science out there...we decided to err on the side of caution.

Gardening company Yates said while they respected Bunnings' decision it was comfortable that neonicotinoid products did not harm bees.

A spokesman for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) said neonicotinoids registered for use in Australia are safe and effective. He said:
This class of pesticides has been used in Australia since the early 1990s and APVMA continue to monitor potential adverse experiences of the chemicals.

More than 30,000 Australians signed a petition, launched by global consumer group SumOfUs, calling on Australian retailers to stop selling insecticides containing neonicotinoids.

A Bunnings spokesperson said the company was aware of the petition, but reached its decision independently. Bunnings chief operating officer Clive Duncan said the company has been working with suppliers and partners around the use of neonicotinoids. He said:
[Bunnings ensures] we keep abreast of the evolving science and issues impacting bee populations.

Woolworths recently told The New Daily it had succumbed to consumer pressure to remove Confidor from its shelves. Coles will also cease sale of insecticides containing neonicotinoids this year, following Independent Hardware Group's - owner of Mitre 10 and Home Timber and Hardware - announcement it would pull all items containing neonicotinoids from its shelves by the end of the year.
"Minimal effect"

Despite the ban, apiarists believe it is unlikely to have much effect. Phil Lester is a professor of ecology and entomology at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. He said given the small scale in which over-the-counter products that contain neonicotinoids were used, the Bunnings ban was unlikely to have much of an impact. He told Radio NZ:
My guess is it will have minimal effect really in the wider scale of things. There are lots of crops ... that utilise neonicotinoids and it's those big cropping systems that utilise much more and the use of the home handy-man, or home gardener will pale into insignificance in comparison.

Mr Lester said while the effects of the ban would be minimal, the move would likely be popular with consumers.
I think there will be a lot of people that shop at Bunnings that have heard some media around the use of neonicotinoids, that it's bad for bees and Bunnings will be doing themselves some favours by taking them off the shelves.

Mr Lester said more data needed to be collected.
Ban in place at B&Q

Back in May 2017, UK home improvement retailer B&Q announced that all the flowering plants it sold are to be grown without using pesticides that are harmful to bees.

B&Q said that from February 2018 it would no longer sell flowering plants grown using the pesticides. It claimed it was the first retailer to commit to such an undertaking.
Bunnings Albany store in WA to expand

Bunnings will double the size of one of its WA outlets. The Albany Highway store will increase by 6000sqm across three lots, reports The Advertiser. It is the first large-scale expansion of the store since it opened its doors in 1999. Bunnings general manager - property, Andrew Marks said:
Bunnings has been part of the Albany community for more than 17 years and is pleased to have received an amended development approval for a major expansion of our Albany store.

Mr Marks said Bunnings was finalising its development program but could not yet confirm a timeframe.
The DA [development application] will allow for over 6000sqm of new retail space and we are currently working on a proposed development program to make the most of this additional space.
East Albury Bunnings doubles in size

Bunnings' $28 million warehouse in East Albury (NSW) is one of the largest operations of its type in regional Australia. It measures over 18,000sqm with 400 car parks, located on the corner of Borella Road and Drome Street.

The store recently opened to DIY hobbyists, renovators and "Bunnings-tragics". There are plans for a grand opening celebration now that it has officially commenced trading.

Bunnings is also transferring its trade centre from a leased property in Romet Road, Wodonga across to East Albury.

The timber and trade centre is located at the northern end of the warehouse and the garden supplies section at the Borella Road end of the site which is roughly double the size of Bunnings' Wodonga operation on Thomas Mitchell Drive which opened in 2007.

Bunnings opened its existing Albury store in Young Street in 2003 before an expansion six years later.

Another Bunnings store in NSW, in Heatherbrae, has also officially opened.
HNN Sources

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