Tennant Creek’s newly rebuilt supermarket is set to be re-opened in November.
While the original projection earlier this year was September, delays to building supplies due to COVID-19 internationally has prolonged the estimated opening.
While Tennant Creek residents have suffered with sub-standard supermarket supplies, with no disregard to attempts by the co-owners in such difficult circumstances, it’s bound to be a fanfare event.
The Barkly community is looking forward to the most modern supermarket known of its kind in the region, including solar power and a generator to protect from blackouts in the town.
The Tennant Creek IGA is owned jointly by the Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation and Indigenous Business Corporation (IBA), but managed by IBA Retail Asset Management (IRAM).
The original arson destruction of supermarket, caused by youth who set fire to a skip bin at the back of the supermarket back in July 2020, was a threat to the region’s food security.
There are now steps to ensure the same tragedy can never happen again.
In collaboration with the Barkly Regional Council, there will be individual wheelie bins housed in a purpose-built and secure section, accessible from the inside. The wheelie bins will be placed on the street on collection days only.
It will not more expensive than using skip bins, and for that management is thankful for the great partnership.
IRAM CEO John Kop said the whole rebuild had to start from floor to roof, while the outside structure remained intact after the fire.
“Our contractors have stripped it all down to the bare concrete floors and the roof taken off,” he said.
“All of the concrete and new plumbing is completed.
“We donated the old copper wiring to charity too and have hired Alice Springs company Asbuild plus local contractors to compete the works.
“Now we will be using those local contractors to complete our maintenance on our refrigeration because they will be accredited to carry out repairs.
“This has been a huge boost to our local economy, despite the hardships we’ve had to endure.
Tennant Creek is one of the best solar places to generate energy in Australia.
“The solar power we will be generating will be pushed back into the grid too.”
The entire rebuild of the supermarket includes the associated businesses spaces to the premises.
Mr Kop also commended Julalikari and IBA for the hard work they have put into rebuilding the supermarket which services the entire Barkly region.
“At a 12.5 million cost, it’s a major investment to Tennant Creek and benefits the region’s future,” he said.
“They have spent a significant cost to rebuilding after a disaster they couldn’t predict, now just awaiting the NT Government’s streetscape project to come to fruition to further enhance Tennant Creek’s main street.”
Note: It was announced in 2018 the Northern Territory granted the town a $1.45 million grant for the Barkly Streetscape Project to enhance the main street of town.
This article appeared in the Tennant & District Times, 11 June 2021.