FROM THE ASHES
By JURIS GRANEY & DAVID BANCROFT
IT may be some time off, but a third site is looming as a possibility for a new supermarket in Maclean.
There have already been expressions of interest from the McConaghy group in developing a supermarket in an area just outside the main commercial centre (near the NRMA), and a second proposal has been lodged by Holder Baker Enterprises for a 5000-square-metre supermarket at the rear of Palace Arcade in the CBD.
But the massive blaze that destroyed the Cafe Boulevard and other River Street businesses on February 27 has raised the possibility of a third option.
The owner of the Cafe Boulevard site, Dale James, said he was considering a number of options for the site, including the possibility of a supermarket. He said the other two supermarket proposals had flaws. The $25million McConaghy proposal would split the town, he said, while the Holder Baker Enterprises plan would require expensive streetscape upgrades, and much of the land behind the arcade posed geotechnical problems because of waste from a former timber mill that was on the site.
He said someone representing the Clarence Valley Council had phoned him and asked that he consider a supermarket on the site.
Mr James said he was hoping to meet with some of the former business owners from around the site to discuss their preferences before making any decisions.
"There's about an acre of land vacant there," he said. "The council is saying that as terrible as the fire was, it opens up the area and there is a whole lot of potential there," he said.
"I would like to get involved in taking the town forward. But it comes down to what others want to do."
Mr James said he would consider selling the property if he received the right offer.
Clarence Valley Council mayor Ian Tiley said the vacant lot would 'obviously be a good location for a supermarket' with plenty of land to play with.
Cr Tiley said he was unaware of any approaches that councillors or staff may have made to Mr James, and that no decision would be reached until a $20,000 Maclean Retail Strategy was released at the end of the year.
Cr Tiley said no DAs had been lodged for any supermarket devel- opment in the town.