Take me to the river

The draft master plan for the Maclean riverside precinct, which includes cafes and restaurants, general retail and passive recreation areas.
The draft master plan for the Maclean riverside precinct, which includes cafes and restaurants, general retail and passive recreation areas. Clouston Associates

THE Maclean retail centre of the future will have a stronger focus on the river with a strong mix of recreational and commercial uses, if a draft report to be considered by the Clarence Valley Council is adopted.

The 131-page draft Maclean Riverside Precinct Plan, which will be tabled at the council's environment, economic and community committee this afternoon, aims to set the future planning and development guidelines for the town.

Consultants Clouston Associates were asked to prepare a document that would make the riverfront precinct a place of character and quality, ensure diversity of public uses and activities, expand options for pedestrian river access, be accessible to a diverse range of people, be responsive to the character of the land and the heritage of Maclean township, creative and consistent with sustainability principles, reflect Clarence River Way themes and facilitate investment in the waterfront area.

In their draft paper, the consultants say Maclean has lost its working and recreational relationship with the river.

"There is an opportunity within the plan to reconnect by revealing views to the river," the document says.

"The levee wall has a significant impact on the views to the river along McLachlan Park.

"In addition to the levee wall, there are other impediments to the view of the river."

It says the availability of services after 8pm also offers opportunities for the future, particularly from a tourism perspective.

The aim of the draft was to allow for water-based activity and infrastructure, provide facilities for boats travelling along the river, ensure facilities meet the demands of a range of boat users, provide accessible boat launch and recovery facilities and associated parking, and ensure the working nature of the river is maintained and not compromised by other boating activity.

It also aimed to identify clearly and encourage appropriate use of public open spaces on the river bank, ensure the land use was compatible with surrounding areas, provide incentive for public and private funding and to ensure the area "addresses the river in an active manner such as windows and activities rather than being back-of-house facilities such as bins storage and air-conditioning".

The draft plan covers an area roughly between the old ferry approach near the Maclean police station to the Spar supermarket and back to River St.

Linkages are provided to the existing retail centre and to parking.

It includes a long-term aim to reorientate buildings and structures toward the river to present a consolidated and medium-high density urban form to visitors arriving by boat.

"The current vitality of Maclean town centre has the opportunity to extend down to the river, with commercial enterprises providing cafes, restaurants and retail to and onto the riverside," the draft says.

"The river needs to be as visible as possible to give people a reason to visit the riverside."

If adopted, the plan would involve the demolition of some levees, which would be replaced with opening gates.

Topics:  clarence valley council maclean river

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