Unease over IGA bid
THERE is definite unease among some Clarence Valley councillors about Tuesday night's decision to throw further support behind IGA's bid to build a supermarket in Centenary Dr, Maclean.
At the meeting, half the councillors present supported Cr Ian Tiley's foreshadowed motion that the council seek professional advice before proceeding.
Cr Karen Toms yesterday told The Daily Examiner Maclean desperately needed a full-size supermarket but it needed to be professionally investigated to ensure the town got the best possible outcome.
“I've been concerned from the beginning about the process. I'm concerned about the fact that the tenders went out over the (Christmas) holidays, that we were advised to accept a non-conforming tender and the fact that we really have no idea about the negotiations,” she said.
“I think it's wise for us to step back from this and put it into the hands of someone who is totally independent and professional, someone who can look at all of the options that council could do with this land.”
Cr Toms said any new supermarket must have a strong link to the CBD and the waterfront.
“We don't even know what IGA is going to give us,” she said.
“If they buy the land we need to find out how they're going to link the supermarket to the CBD.
“None of those things have been answered and I've got real concerns about that.
“We need to start listening to our community, too. The fact is Maclean Chamber of Commerce is also concerned and would like us to step back and make sure we're doing the right thing.
“Everybody wants the best outcome. We don't want to end up with a little supermarket out the back that in five years' time isn't going to satisfy the needs of our community.”
Cr Ian Dinham, who also supported Cr Tiley's motion, said he too had serious concerns.
“The idea of getting some professional advice appealed to me because we're amateurs in the world of supermarkets,” he said.
“I felt that IGA has an offer on the table, which we appreciate, and if they're serious it will still be on the table in a few weeks' time when we've sought further advice.
“I'm very keen to see this matter resolved and I felt the best way to do that was to be sure of our ground in any negotiations rather than let this drag on with uncertainty.
“I fully support the supermarket concept for Maclean. This is an issue that has been high on my agenda for many years now.”