THE redevelopment of the former Dairy Farmers site on Bentinck Street is one of the key projects to shape the way Bathurst looks into the future.
We've already one false start at the site after Bathurst Regional Council approved plans back in 2013 for a massive redevelopment that would have seen the construction of a modern residential development boasting 40 apartments, two retail premises, a cafe and commercial premises.
The approved plans also proposed the demolition of two buildings on the rundown site at the corner of Howick and Bentinck streets but, significantly, the retention - and stabilisation - of the landmark Dairy Farmers tower and old office building.
As it happened, the demolition of the old buildings was completed while the tower remains standing and the old office building at the front of the site has been restored and repurposed.
But that's as far as it got and, for the most part, the site remains an eyesore in the Bathurst CBD.
And that's why getting it right this time is even more important than last time.
The current $23 million proposal includes serviced apartments, a commercial office suite and a piazza on the vacant site.
But, more than that, it has the potential to be a landmark development for our city - and that's not an opportunity we should take lightly.
Council is no doubt keen to see something - perhaps anything - become of the Dairy Farmers site but should not be so desperate that it allows developers to dominate negotiations.
A number of concerns have already been raised, including questions over whether the Bathurst CBD needs more commercials space, and council must be prepared to commit whatever time it takes to working through the issues.
Development sites are becoming increasingly rare around the Bathurst CBD so we want to ensure remaining space is utilised to its best advantage - for all stakeholders.
Bathurst RSL last week completed a deal to buy the vacant Clancy Motors site in Howick Street and there is still no firm plan for the council-owned for TAFE site on William Street.
Along with Dairy Farmers, they're the three big development sites left in the CBD.
Let's get their development right, because future generations will not thank us for getting them wrong.