Maclean warms to Baker proposal
By SALLY GORDON
THE big guns have laid their cards on the table and now it's a wait-and-see game for the community as to which developer, if any, will triumph with shopping centre plans for Maclean.
Over the past week Maclean has been abuzz as the community debates the pros and cons of Holder Baker Enterprises' proposal for a $50 million Maclean CBD revamp, and The McConaghy Group's vision for a $25 million shopping centre at the southern gateway of the town.
A Maclean Chamber of Commerce meeting on Monday indicated strong support for the Holder Baker Enterprises proposal, which includes a 5000 square-metre supermarket complex at the rear of the Palace Arcade in Maclean's CBD, extra car parking and a marina.
Andrew Baker, who co-directs the group with Greg Holder, gave a one-hour presentation at the chamber meeting, supplying those present with colour printouts of their plans.
Mr Baker said the public feedback to the proposal had been overwhelming.
"People see it as logical and right for the town," he said.
"It's all integrated and ties together without destroying any of the good things about Maclean."
The Maclean Chamber of Commerce president, Keith Maude, said Mr Baker's presentation attracted more than 50 residents, making it one of the biggest chamber meetings in the past few years.
"Everyone was very pro the Andrew Baker proposal," Mr Maude said.
"The main reason is because it's in the middle of the existing CBD and it can only enhance the existing village atmosphere of the CBD."
Mr Maude said if a vote had been held at Monday night's meeting Mr Baker's proposal would have won easily.
"McConaghy's proposal would have drawn no votes at all," Mr Maude said.
The McConaghy Group, directed by Robert McConaghy, has declined to comment on its competitor's plan.
Mr McConaghy also declined to comment on the community's early response to both proposals.
The McConaghy Group, owners of Grafton Shoppingworld, has detailed a proposal for a 3200 square-metre shopping centre on a site bounded by River, Church and Taloumbi streets.
McConaghy's $25 million vision for Maclean involves 20 specialty shops and covered parking for 230 vehicles, extra on-street parking, a bus stop and set down area adjacent to the shopfront on River and Church streets.