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MacNaughton Place decision revealed next year

An artist’s impression of the area CAE Properties hopes to acquire, a concept illustrated in the Maclean Riverside Precinct Plan. Image: Contributed.
Geoff Helisma At last week’s Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting, councillors discussed aspects of CVC’s recent sale of 1 MacNaughton Place to CAE Properties. However, the subject of those discussions was carried out in a confidential session (in accordance with the Local Government Act) because the tabled “report contains commercial information of a confidential nature that would, if disclosed, prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied it”, CVC’s general manager Ashley Lindsay wrote. Following the meeting, Mr Lindsay told the Independent that “council’s adopted resolution … will be made public on January 31, 2018”. The Independent subsequently spoke with Ben Campbell, a director of CAE Properties, about plans for his and adjacent properties. The council’s confidential decision was not discussed. However, he confirmed that his company has met with owners of adjacent properties to explore establishing a precinct in line with CVC’s Maclean Riverside Precinct Plan – completed by Clouston Associates in 2012 – that would involve CAE Properties acquiring the land holdings bounded by MacNaughton Place, River Street and Munro Lane. Mr Campbell, who was “born and bred in the town”, said “we are at the very early stages” and that “whatever happens, it has to be the best thing for the whole community”. “I’d like to think that if someone gets something similar [to the riverside plan] up and running, it would be good for the town,” he said. Stephen Walton, who is the president of the Maclean RSL Sub Branch, which owns the Maclean Services Club premises, said his branch has been “approached by [CAE Properties], who have shown an interest in council’s waterfront development plan for that area, with a proposal, the details of which have not proceeded beyond initial discussions”. Home Timber & Hardware proprietor Nick Clark said CAE Properties proposed some “good ideas”, but the outcome was “just a pipedream at this stage”. Meanwhile, CVC has facilitated meetings with stakeholders who have an interest in the works currently underway, which was funded by a $1.8million federal grant originally earmarked to build a boardwalk from McLachlan Park to MacNaughton Place. The council issued the following statement in response to the Independent’s enquiry: “The objective of the current scope of work is to … establish a refined brief to advance the Maclean precinct plan – from the vision plan prepared by Clouston in 2012 to a schematic design for further consultation – and then onto detailed design documents to enable construction and delivery of the two bookends (McLachlan Park and MacNaughton Place). “Council engaged with council staff, adjacent land holders, Yaegl, the chamber of commerce, the Scottish association, the Greater Maclean Community Action Group and other interested members of the community.”