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Forward planning for Maclean community precinct underway

Geoff Helisma

Maclean residents will soon have the opportunity to comment on a plan to create a ‘Maclean Community Precinct’ along the River Street frontage from the council chambers to the civic hall.

At the December meeting of Clarence Valley Council, councillors approved the allocation of $12,000 from Section 94A funds to engage an architect to design and draw a concept plan, and to appoint a project management team.

The precinct proposal aims to combine the library, council chambers and civic hall.
The report to council stated that there were two options for developing community land, at either Townsend or the River Street site – the Maclean location was chosen because of its easy accessibility for both locals and visitors.

The investigation to establish the precinct was encouraged by “current infrastructure grant opportunities”, the report to council stated.
Its central location also “optimised … ongoing maintenance and operations”.
“The provision of cultural and community infrastructure plays a fundamental role of ensuring social wellbeing and community cohesion,” the report to council stated.
The inadequate size (265 square metres) and location of the existing library on Stanley Street and the outcome of a 2006 review of the valley’s community centres were tabled as reasons to commence the process.
The review found that the civic hall failed to meet community expectations including the “very limited parking and disability access”, the need to refurbish the kitchen area and the building’s unsuitability for “its primary purpose”.

Also, the 2009 Clarence Valley Cultural & Community Facilities Plan identified “the need for more meeting space in Maclean”.
A comment included in the report, from “Maclean Community Conversations, 9 February 2017”, noted: “We need a visitor centre and cultural centre in Maclean with a theatre, restaurant [and] for different purposes including food festival and youth drop in centre with games/computer and other activities they like.”
The ultimate aim is to “develop a unified precinct that combines the Maclean library, the council chamber and civic hall, establishing a focal point and a hub of services”.
The councillors’ decision was unanimous; however, there was no discussion or debate about the matter.