The retailer was originally eyeing a location on Port Road. This would have taken shoppers out of the CBD, which was already struggling.
The local chamber of commerce pushed hard for the current town centre redevelopment. It hopes some short-term pain caused by construction works will be worth it to revitalise the shopping district.
If ALDI, or another major retailer, had ended up outside of the CBD it would have been a major step backwards. It would have been competing with existing Kadina businesses for visitors.
ALDI might still take some people away from the main streets, but at least shoppers will be in the same general area, and other businesses will be within walking distance for many. Centralising shopping precincts works.
It has worked for Wallaroo, where the main street is more vibrant since the Foodland shopping complex moved in. On the other hand, look at Whyalla. The Westland Shopping Centre was built away from the CBD, essentially halving the potential foot traffic of each.
To get to this point was difficult. Council had to encourage ALDI to consider the CBD instead of settling on Port Road, and create a suitable allotment. Rumours spread about ALDI having abandoned any plans to move to the area.
They persisted even after ALDI was basically locked in, because the deal had to be kept confidential. Those in the know remained patient and worked through numerous obstacles, including securing crown land and moving the road between the roundabouts.
And hopefully the effort will be well worth it. ALDI was coming to Kadina one way or another.
At least now it will add to the shopping experience in the CBD rather than taking customers away.