Demolition day looms


DEVELOPERS are looking at a premium cost if they want to restore Maclean's fire-damaged buildings to their former historical splendour.

Clarence Valley Council director of environment and planning Rob Donges said new buildings would have to be built in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and fire rating standards.

"When they restored it previously to a heritage standard, it wasn't required to be constructed according to modern fire requirements because it was only renovation and restoration work," Mr Donges said.

"Now, it will have to be built by Building Code of Australia standards and the necessary fire regulations ... and by trying to get a heritage feel to it, or restoring it to that standard, there will be a premium cost involved in doing that."

Mr Donges said that at this stage it was too early to detail what a reconstructed River Street precinct might look like.

He said however, that council did not believe in the concept of trying to imitate heritage buildings.

"It's going to be a difficult issue. We don't believe in the concept of trying to create new buildings that look like old buildings," he said.

"It's one thing to restore an old building back to its former glory but it's another issue to try and restore a building and make it look like it had a former glory."

Despite this, Mr Donges said council was sensitive to the fact that there were a number of restored buildings that remained in River Street.

"We would want something that's at least in keeping with the remaining streetscape," he said.

Dick Swainson from T and T Metal and Asbestos Services, who have been employed to demolish the River Street fire site, said excavation work would start this morning.

A team of seven men will be clearing debris from blocks 193, 195 and 197 River Street.

Mr Swainson said a 25-tonne excavator would clear the site from the southern wall of the Laundry Care store to the northern wall of the Little Blue Wren and as far back as the rear of the block.

Wreckage will be transported to Grafton's landfill facility.

The T and T project manager expects that River Street will be partly open to traffic by nightfall.

Mr Swainson said asbestos removal would be conducted in accordance with health and government regulations.

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