CLOSED: Fences bar access to Maclean's Centenary Drive carpark.
CLOSED: Fences bar access to Maclean's Centenary Drive carpark. Renae Smidt

PARKING MAD: Closed carpark already impacting town

THE closing of the Centenary Drive carpark in Maclean has come under fire from residents and small business owners - who are already reporting a decline in trade.

The northern half of the car park was fenced off last Monday in preparation for the construction of the new IGA. However, small business owners said they were unaware that the entire northern half would be sectioned off.

"It was meant to be a section of the carpark,” Maclean Variety Meats owner John Allan said.

"We didn't even know council had sold the whole carpark.”

Mr Allan said his shop, along with other Maclean small businesses, was already experiencing a decline in trade.

"It's already hurting our foot traffic,” he said.

"We've got no parking and some people are saying that they'll just go somewhere else to shop, go to Yamba or Grafton.”

Clarence Valley Council general manager Ashley Lindsay said there would be some inconvenience for Maclean shoppers during the supermarket construction but at the end the town would have a new supermarket.

"The construction now occurring will cause some inconvenience, but in the long term it will be a welcome addition to Maclean and will help stem the drift of spending dollars going to other locations,” he said.

"As part of the development additional car parking spaces were provided at a new site in Argyle St and behind the Maclean Library.”

However, Mr Allan said he was not convinced these alternative parking locations would alleviate the problem given their size and the inconvenience in getting to and from various shops.

"We've only got two little carparks now and it can't feed the whole town,” he said.

A spokesperson from Circon Construction and Project Management, which is behind the IGA build, confirmed the fence would remain in place until April.

"If the fence is up until next Easter, this means we miss out on all the holiday trade for Christmas and that's the cream to get us all through,” Mr Allan said.

"This will hurt massively.”