Soft soil work continues on the upgrade of the Pacific Highway near the Harwood Bridge.
Soft soil work continues on the upgrade of the Pacific Highway near the Harwood Bridge. Adam Hourigan

LETTER: Don't bypass opportunity

LETTER: Don't bypass opportunity

IT WAS disappointing to read (DEX, April 16) that the Chamber of Commerce feels that the most urgent need in Maclean is to attract an entrepreneur to build a retirement village.

When the highway is complete Maclean will be the only town left close to passing traffic. It will be the Clarence Valley's best chance to lure traffic off the highway and to introduce them to the attractions of the whole area. Currently only the Scottish Association has made any real attempt to advertise the town with a highway sign. Even the Organic Bakery (a newcomer) has signs to raise an interest in their product.

It is common knowledge that the Chamber resisted attempts to provide the Showgrounds as an RV overnight stop, preferring to campaign for an over the river site at the old quarry. It was left to the council to persuade them that the Showgrounds would be the obvious choice. The move has been a success but the year or so delay and the negative attitude of Chamber was unnecessary.

There are as many people moving on from Maclean because it has failed to meet their initial hopes as there are people moving out to a retirement home. Some of the 10 couples who have moved out recently had disappointment with the town as a contributing factor.

If the intention is to keep a few couples in the town, allowing their houses to be recycled for temporary occupation during highway works, then it is unlikely that Maclean will gain any long term benefit. On this basis, the highway works will represent a temporary boost in the local economy. Tourism is an industry which brings new capital into a town. The new IGA which has been shoehorned into the middle of town will not lure travellers off the highway.

A perusal of tourist literature tells the story of how little this town is promoted. The last time I checked The Lonely Planet it had one sentence on Maclean, tacked on to a paragraph on Ulmarra. My approach to the Chamber at that time, to make representations to the publishers were ignored.

Without taking advantage of the temporary lift in the economy to permanently boost tourism, there will indeed be a 'Missed Chance'.

Bob Hills, Gulmarrad



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