STOP PRESS: Some spanners in the works to replace our Myer store

THE GLORY DAYS: Orange's Myer store has been closed for a year and there are some hurdles to overcome before a replacement shop can open.
THE GLORY DAYS: Orange's Myer store has been closed for a year and there are some hurdles to overcome before a replacement shop can open.

WILL Orange ever get a new department store to replace Myer? The way things are going it might be a tough haul.

A second development application lodged with Orange City Council by developer Alceon Group Pty Limited proposes to demolish the ground, first and second floors of the old Myer building as well as the roof but to maintain the Summer Street and Post Office Lane facades.

A new portal frame with new roof will be built behind the existing facades to provide a single retail level that will provide for 15 separate retail outlets and two kiosks along with back-of-house facilities and amenities.

The application came off public exhibition three days ago and now will be dealt with by the council. In the meantime the proposed main tenant Harris Scarfe’s owner Steinhoff Asia Pacific has just hired financial advisers specialising in helping distressed companies.

Steinhoff also owns Best and Less and Fantastic Furniture but says the appointment of Minter Ellison and Ferrier Hodgson to provide legal, financial and corporate advice was a prudent step while the company worked through “significant uncertainty …”

The company, also caught up in accounting irregularities, says its business is not in distress and is trading normally. But given big retail names like Myer and Target are struggling, who knows what the future will be for Harris Scarfe.

Hopefully things turn out OK: Orange needs a Myer replacement because it’s losing shoppers to centres like Dubbo and Bathurst.

THE CLOCK IS TICKING

THE Doomsday Clock used by experts to predict the end of the world is telling us we’re two minutes away from global catastrophe. Things are not looking good because when it strikes midnight everything theoretically goes bang and we’re all history.

A few days ago the clock – a symbolic measure of likely nuclear destruction controlled by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists – ticked forward to two minutes to midnight, the closest it’s been since 1953 when the USA and Russia were letting off hydrogen bombs.

The scientists’ long odds for our survival correspond to the rise of an erratic celebrity apprentice in the White House and a string of nuclear tests by North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

So, what could Orange people do for their last two minutes on earth? You could blink 40 times, smile, frown, take 20 deep breaths, turn off a light, cough, stick out your tongue and count to 120. You could look at your council rates notice or power bill and smile knowing you won’t have to pay them.

You could change your profile picture on Facebook and then change it back. You could put in a call to Telstra faults and just sit there in silence while waiting.

The possibilities are endless.

I’M SORRY, WHAT WAS THAT?

THE council has been a victim of its own regulations on noise control for events. Council limits the sound of public address systems to not exceed five decibels above the background noise with speakers aimed away from residential areas.

At the Australia Day celebrations in Cook Park dozens of people sitting in the north eastern section of the official proceedings had trouble hearing what was going on, including the naturalisations and citizenship awards.

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