BUSI­NESS

Busi­ness lead­ers warn it will send wrong mes­sage

The Northern Star - - NEWS - Clau­dia Jam­bor clau­dia.jam­bor@north­ern­star.com.au

lead­ers have warned Lis­more City Coun­cil’s push­back against a $90 mil­lion ex­pan­sion of the Square could send a neg­a­tive mes­sage to fu­ture in­vestors, harm­ing the po­ten­tial for growth in the re­gion.

BUSI­NESS lead­ers have warned Lis­more City Coun­cil’s push­back against a $90 mil­lion ex­pan­sion of the Square could send a neg­a­tive mes­sage to fu­ture in­vestors, harm­ing the po­ten­tial for growth in the re­gion.

NSW Busi­ness Cham­ber’s North­ern Rivers Re­gional Man­ager, Jane Laverty said she was “quite sur­prised coun­cil­lors knocked back” the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore the po­ten­tial in­vest­ment.

She said re­ject­ing the pro­posal to ex­plore the ex­pan­sion may send a neg­a­tive mes­sage to in­vestors eye­ing off Lis­more.

“I am con­cerned about the mes­sage for the North­ern Rivers if coun­cils turn their backs on op­por­tu­ni­ties with­out ex­plor­ing them more fully,” Ms Laverty said.

North Coast Com­mer­cial Real Es­tate prin­ci­pal Chris Har­ley agreed with Ms Laverty. While he said the de­ci­sion wasn’t “the end of the world”, Mr Har­ley said the pro­posal re­jec­tion wasn’t the mes­sage the coun­cil­lors would want to send to prospec­tive in­vestors.

Lis­more CBD busi­ness­man An­drew Gor­don ex­pressed his dis­ap­point­ment about the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion at a time when Lis­more needs “eco­nomic driv­ers” to boost its econ­omy, es­pe­cially after the March floods.

“It’s a de­ci­sion we will live to re­gret. It will come at a cost to the com­mu­nity,” Mr Gor­don said.

“I’m very dis­ap­pointed at the poor out­look of our coun­cil­lors.”

Mr Gor­don, who is also the vice pres­i­dent of the Lis­more Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, said the re­jec­tion to con­sider the ex­pan­sion may have cost the com­mu­nity jobs and eco­nomic growth.

Ms Laverty de­scribed Lis­more as an “in­tel­li­gent com­mu­nity” that should have been al­lowed to voice their opin­ions on the ex­pan­sion through con­sul­ta­tion.

For now, plans to ex­pand Lis­more Shop­ping Square are dead in the water.

Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of McCon­aghy Prop­er­ties, Gary McCon­aghy said the mes­sage from this week’s coun­cil meet­ing was made clear by the coun­cil­lors and com­mu­nity.

“At this stage we won’t be in­vest­ing any more time into the pro­posal,” Mr McCon­aghy said.

At this stage we won’t be in­vest­ing any more time into the pro­posal — Gary McCon­aghy

PHOTO: MARC STAPELBERG

SHORT CHANGED: Lis­more Shop­ping Square along Uralba Street in Lis­more.

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