THE owners and architect behind the proposed development for the old Dairy Farmers site have addressed concerns raised by community members.
A discussion forum was held at Bathurst Regional Council's meeting on Wednesday night, with residents able to share their opinions on the proposal, which is to create commercial offices, serviced apartments and a piazza on the site.
Representatives from Joss Constructions, the owner of the site, along with the architect, Tony McBurney, were also in attendance and took the opportunity to address the council.
Senior project manager Brett McClellan said Joss had learnt a lot since the last development application for the site was rejected in 2016.
One of the things that the company did differently was consult further with council and the community, something they were later commended on by Bathurst Heritage Network representative Sandy Bathgate.
"That's a very good approach and can take a lot of uncertainty out of the equation," Mr Bathgate said.
However, he noted there were still some issues with the new proposal for the site.
The primary concern of the heritage group is the staged approach the developers plan to take with construction.
The group fears that the Quest serviced apartments will be completed, but the rest of the site could end up remaining vacant.
"The worst thing for Bathurst would be to have the Quest building built and then nothing else, in which case we find ourselves with a situation just the same as the 2016 DA," Mr Bathgate said.
"I would like to hope that somehow council could find a way to ensure the whole project is built.
"I'm gratified to hear yet again the developers' intention that it is done, even though it is proposed to be on a staged basis, but if we are left with just the Quest building, I think we've got a problem as city."
Mr McClellan explained it was due to "commercial constraints" that the work would be staged, as there was no occupant yet for the building proposed for the corner of Bentinck and Howick streets.
Other people raised issues with the development regarding the bulk and size of buildings, overshadowing of the piazza in cooler months, and accessibility.
Mr McBurney addressed some of these issues, first of all defending the bulk and size, saying it was in direct relationship to the opportunity of the site.
"It's a very valuable piece of land to Bathurst and to be able to give, particularly visitors, the best possible opportunity of looking across the floodplains and towards the mountains, is a great opportunity for the development of the site," he said.
"Bathurst has proven itself well-capable of absorbing quite large buildings that actually become significant urban markers in the town."
Regarding overshadowing, he said studies show that "it will be a beautiful place to be in winter".
In response to accessibility concerns, he said the topography of the site presents a challenge, but the Princes Street level will be accessible and there will be a lift in the Quest building.
Following the forum, the development application will come back to council for determination.