Excitement in Koonibba is growing with the town’s $850,000 general store edging closer to open day.
The structure was completed late last month and has been handed over to Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation, with the store to get an internal fit out ahead of the opening early next year.
The corporation’s chief executive officer Corey McLennan said funding for the store had come from a number of sources, including the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Indigenous Entrepreneurs Fund, Indigenous Business Australia, as well as a considerable contribution from the Koonibba community.
Mr McLennan said the community was very happy with the end product.
“We recently had a handover meeting with the builder, our business manager, the [Ceduna District] council and myself to ensure the build was complete, and it is now under Koonibba control,” he said.
“Local building firm Evco Building Solutions have done a magnificent job and we congratulate them on their professionalism and attention to detail every step of the way throughout the contract.
“We will spend the next six weeks for the internal fit out, which includes shelving, refrigeration, freezing, point of sale system, security and storage.”
It has been 42 years since Koonibba last had a general store, with the past five years spent getting this project from blueprint to construction.
With the handover complete and internal work about to begin the aim is to have the store stocked and open for business in late January.
Mr McLennan said the new general store would be a positive for Koonibba and would ensure residents could shop local instead of having to go to Ceduna on a regular basis.
“It will allow people to shop local, so there is potential for cost savings involved with transport and fuel that is required for travelling now,” he said.
“The community is getting excited and during the nine months of construction they have been proud of what they are seeing.
“The Koonibba board of directors has been actively involved and thoroughly professional with all aspects of the process and they are happy to see how it is coming to fruition, and the board’s vision and dedication is to be congratulated.”
Ceduna mayor Perry Will said this was an exciting project for Koonibba.
“This will be fantastic for the community, it will ensure people don’t have to travel the 40-odd kilometres to Ceduna every time to do their shopping,” he said.
Mr McLennan said they were expecting strong community support for the store.
“A business plan and feasibility study has gone into the creation of the general store and we believe it has the potential for turnover of a fair profit,” he said.
“We want to capture the economy of the 250 local residents who will shop here, this would then over time enable funds to be distributed back into the community for worthy causes.”
He said there would also be the opportunity for local employment at the store.
Some aspects such as opening days and hours are to be finalised in the coming weeks.