Clarence Valley Council’s Environment, Planning and Community committee meeting last Tuesday saw our new Councillors demonstrate that the trust and confidence the community put in them when voting them onto Council was well founded.
The proposal by Councils administration for the “reclassification” of the McNaughton Place water front property drew a number of submissions from individuals and community groups. The reclassification was the last obstacle to the sale of the Council land for possible multi-level development. Committee members listened to all submissions with patience and respect. Would that the same could be said of all of the presenters. It is one thing to present a case for or against a proposal. It is totally a different matter to mount a direct attack on presenters of a contrary opinion. The comment that retirees should find something better to do with their time than to have the temerity to obstruct the sale and subsequent destruction of strategically important public assets, displayed not only a complete contempt for the due process accorded every resident by Council, but it also showed an ignorance of and a contempt for the enormous community work carried out over many years by some of the presenters.
OAM’s are awarded to generous and committed people who volunteer long hours to make their community a better place to live, for attracting visitors to the town and for staging national events to support the small businesses and enrich the community. For example, the Maclean Highland Gathering is the longest running event of its kind in Australia and attracts international interest, attendance and thousands of visitors.
We all want progress and development. We want better shopping and more variety. We want to see business prospering and expanding. But progress and development doesn’t have to come at the cost of the character and traditions of the town and the sensitivities of its people. Both can be had with intelligence and planning foresight. The people who were publicly denigrated and insulted are people motivated solely by a commitment to the wellbeing of the community. They welcome and encourage visitors and new residents into the town they are so proud of and support the small businesses that service the peoples needs.