“You had a plan, you advertised it, and you drove people to stores within walking distance.
“Now what we are seeing is more housing coming up, instead of the mall. This is false advertising.”
There is a cluster of stores a few miles further south in Greenvale. But residents of the housing estates say getting there without a car is not safe.
The only walking route is the busy Mickleham Road, which has no footpaths. The local bus service runs once or twice an hour.
Congested roads have been a problem in the area for some time, especially in the early morning and late afternoon.
Earlier this week, the state government pledged $104 million in its budget to duplicate a 1.6 mile stretch of Mickleham Road in Greenvale.
“I saw people risking their lives, they are walking next to traffic,” Fatima said.
“They basically bought here thinking it would be convenient to walk to the shops. They are in their 60s and 70s.
The need to build a shopping center in the area was identified more than a decade ago, before the first bulldozers came in to subdivide the paddocks.
A development plan for a neighborhood activity center was approved by council in 2009 and received ministerial approval for rezoning in June 2011.
Hume councilor and estate resident Naim Kurt said the main stumbling block in building the mall was a set of traffic lights that the developers wanted to build on Mickleham Road.
He said the lights would have impeded traffic and the plan did not meet Department of Transport guidelines.
“It was announced that a mall would be built soon and it’s been 12 years,” Kurt said.
“There is a bit of concern that the mall might not be built at all. I think the developers have made a lot of money, they can cut their hair out on that.
A spokesperson for developer Pask said the company was still engaged in delivering the Providence Village retail site.
“Pask remains in discussion with Hume Council to advance an outcome that is consistent with the proposed urban design framework for the site,” they said.
In a statement, Hume City Council noted that the property subject to the latest application is zoned for residential and commercial use.
The townhouses will be adjacent to Montenegro Road, with a large section to the east, off Mickleham Road, still set aside for the mall.
“This app is on the residential side,” said planning and development manager Michael Sharp. “No decision has been made on the request.”
Even though the mall is still a possibility in the future, residents are frustrated that it hasn’t taken precedence over more housing.
After years of staring at a billboard on an empty block, they want something more definitive than “coming soon.”
“That’s one of the things that attracted us, compared to some of the other areas that are coming up,” said Providence resident Maria Ferriggi.
“I think they clearly misled buyers. I would suspect that I will be well and truly gone [from the area] before that happens.
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