LONG SIGHTED: Maclean Chamber of Commerce’s David Cooper and John Riggall look over the Clarence to the potential spot for a new rest area for an RV Friendly Maclean.
LONG SIGHTED: Maclean Chamber of Commerce’s David Cooper and John Riggall look over the Clarence to the potential spot for a new rest area for an RV Friendly Maclean.

A ‘drive through’ tourist cash loss

THOUSANDS of dollars are driving straight past Maclean every day.

But the Chamber of Commerce thinks offering up a free overnight rest area at Ilarwill could see some of that cash splashed in the Scottish town.

Clarence Valley Council staff are looking at the viability of the scheme, which the Maclean chamber's acting president, John Riggall, said would be owned by the community.

"It has to be stressed, this is a community effort. We only need the council's help to set it up," he said. "We don't want financial backing."

Mr Riggall said the chamber had the support of the local Lions Club, Rotary Club, Bowling Club, RSL, Scottish Association and Chess, and that the service clubs would help clear the vacant land at the foot of the quarry on the other side of the McFarlane Bridge.

It needs the council to help get permission from the State Government department but the council is currently looking at potential costs associated with the move.

"The bottom line is, with this area, unlike a registered caravan park, there are few in the way of regulations," Mr Riggall said.

"I don't know what (council) officers will recommend but I hope it's fairly reasonable and not with unreasonable costs.

"This is so important for the town."

According to the chamber, Maclean's hope for "RV Friendly" status from the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia will not be realised with just the facility at the showground as it is closed for two days a year and unusable for at least another 30 days due to various events.

It believes the Ilarwill site will also act as an overflow site when the showground is not available.

Chamber member David Cooper prepared a report detailing the number of RVs and caravans that passed Ferry Park on the Pacific Hwy.

The study showed 398 of these types of vehicles passed in a 10- hour period over five days.

Deleting the number of vehicles that passed before noon, because they are unlikely to be looking for overnight accommodation, Mr Cooper reckons there are a potential 150 vehicles that could be drawn into Maclean to stay the night.

"If the average spend for each vehicle is $70 per day and you get 10 in a day, that's $700 a day," Mr Cooper said.

"That's half a million dollars a year and these figures were taken in our off season."