Maclean's IGA closer

THE $2.5 million sale of 3750sqm of land on the Centenary Dr car park site at Maclean for the construction of an IGA supermarket got another step closer this week with Clarence Valley councillors handing down a split decision on its future.

With Councillor Craig Howe absent from Tuesday's meeting, and only eight councillors there to decide on council's next step, it was up to Mayor Richie Williamson to use his casting vote to allow supermarket retailer IGA six more weeks to conduct a car parking needs analysis.

Cr Williamson said there was lengthy debate among councillors over the controversial issue.

“The council has resolved, on my casting vote, to move to the next step,” he said.

“That is to seek some advice on car parking requirements and plans from the purchaser IGA on how they propose to meet their car parking obligations.

“Council has, in principal, adopted to support the $2.5 million offer from IGA solely for the purpose of a supermarket to be built on that location.”

Cr Williamson said the car parking analysis by IGA would determine whether any car parks would be lost if the supermarket was constructed.

“That's what we want to know, and that's what the council will be doing some studies on as well,” he said.

He said the sale of the land, if approved, would be freehold but with some requirements in the contract.

“We will be working with the community to continue to refine what the community are after,” he said.

“Currently the community are saying that they want the supermarket to be built over the car park, with car parking underneath.”

With debate and proposals for supermarkets in Maclean covering more than a decade and several councils, Cr Williamson said it was good the council was finally moving forward step by step.

“I felt that it was time that the council showed a will, showed a leadership, and gave some strong direction on where we believe the future of the retail sector in Maclean should head,” he said.

He said the sale of land would also open up future development opportunities for Maclean.

“It also gives the council the opportunity, should this sale go ahead, to open up the riverfront for public use which has been a long-held dream of the council and the community for many, many years. Should this sale proceed the council will have some substantial funds to progress that idea,” the mayor said.

Before Cr Williamson used his casting vote to push through the proposal, Cr Ian Tiley put forward a foreshadowed motion for the council to engage a consultant to examine the possible sale or lease of the car park.

Before a supermarket was constructed, Cr Williamson said, the council had to consider issues including traffic, stormwater flood levels and pedestrian access to the riverfront.

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