Under the $21 million plan, the Chamton building on Glenlyon Road would be demolished and replaced with a warehouse that backs onto Pitt Street for truck access.
Brunswick resident Andrea Bunting has rallied with around 70 of her neighbours to fight the development and give a voice to the entire community.
Moreland Council has received more than 500 objections to the proposal.
“It’s an unprecedented situation in terms of objections,” a representative said, adding that to date, Council has always collected an average of 50 objections to any urban planning proposal.
“We’re extremely concerned; Glenlyon Road is a major pedestrian and cycling route with one-way traffic each way, and it’s only grown in the last few years in [terms of] congestion,” Bunting said.
“They’re proposing quite a substantial increase in traffic on Glenlyon Road to access the site; it’s a big increase during peak times and it’s going to be a nightmare for anybody who drives, walks or cycles.
“People use Glenlyon Road to access schools and childcare centres, as well as the trams and shops.”
Toby Lawrance, the Victorian regional operations manager at Bunnings, said the development would create at least 50 local jobs and that the intention is to meet demand and offer a wider range of products.
Developers, Metropol Planning, said there would be no impact on the safe and efficient functioning of Glenlyon Road or Pitt Street, despite the underground carpark, which would have 250 parking spaces across two levels and would be accessed via the former.
Trucks and heavy vehicles would use Pitt Street, a small residential street.
The developers also said the design would not be a typical warehouse, but would have features such as a shopfront with window glazing, a café at the front of the store and a dedicated pedestrian entrance.
But Bunting argues that the planning doesn’t leave room for compromises, while the number of residents who oppose the proposal continues to grow.
“Brunswick has an industrial area over the other side of the Upfield railway line, where there’s far less traffic; if you’re going to have a Bunnings, that’s where it belongs, not surrounded by a residential area,” she said.
“We’re talking about 140 homes [that would be affected].”
Moreland Council officers will consult with impacted neighbours, study traffic in the area and prepare a report, to be presented to councillors in December.
“We don’t know what will happen because the developers can take this to VCAT if it’s unnecessarily delayed,” Bunting concluded.
“It’s not just Brunswick though; if this unprecedented project goes ahead, it will affect other areas.”