Supermarket would 'save CBD'

A SUPERMARKET above the Maclean car park is necessary to save the ailing town CBD, claim local businessmen.

Although Clarence Valley Council knocked back a proposal to develop the car park in November 2008, a group of local business people believe sentiment has changed within council and in the community.

The part-owner of the Maclean Newsagency, Jim Fear, led a delegation to council’s civic and corporate committee meeting on June 8 outlining opposition to any rezoning of the car park in Centenary Drive that would preclude development of a supermarket.

In his submission, Mr Fear quoted council’s Lower Clarence Retail Strategy, passed in 2007, which agreed that a supermarket of around 2000 sq m in the centre of town was a necessary part of its growth.

The strategy also advised against development outside the town, unless there were no other alternatives.

“The retail strategy could not make it any clearer that Maclean needs additional retail space to service the Lower Clarence area of some 18,000 people,” the submission read.

Businessmen, such as Argyle Hotel publican Warren Campbell, believe uncertainty about the future of the CBD has stifled the once vibrant business of the town.

“We’re doing it tough in two ways,” he said.

“People are going out of town to do their shopping because there’s not enough variety here for them.

“And no-one is spending any money to improve the situation because of the uncertain future of the town centre.”

Real estate agent Ken Giese said council could be a major benefactor of a car park development.

“Council could lease the site for say $120,000 a year to a developer,” he said. “Over 10 years that’s more than $1 million they could put back into the community.”



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