“Better than nothing” is not good enough

Ed, And so Council’s McLachlan Park bungle continues. Well over a quarter of a million dollars spent on McLachlan Park so far – mostly to consultants – and not a spade turned in the ground. Not even the last consultant’s plan (the “Vee” Plan, which was not publicly endorsed) will now get a guernsey. As advised in the Independent of 23 March, the latest in the shemozzle is a half-baked plan, of unknown origin, no public endorsement, and of which we are to apparently only see half of it constructed for our money. And to make it worse, in the current confusion a glaring misconception was advised to Council at its last meeting that really has to be corrected. The Works Director “revealed” at the meeting that “the dirt that rises from the footpath to the levee wall could not be removed at this stage”, and “the actual earth on the roadside is supporting the levee, and that a ‘special design’ would be required to remove the earth”. This is wholly incorrect. The earth was placed there in McLachlan Park in the early 1990s purely as a matter of soil disposal convenience when the new Maclean Shire council chambers was being constructed. Up to that time the levee was at ground (footpath) level, doing the job that it was designed to do. The earth filling has nothing to do with holding up the wall as a design requirement. A red herring has managed to jump the wall it seems. Had Council adopted the practical and simple park reconstruction plan that, for example, the Maclean Scottish Town Association put forward a few years ago, an excellent and functional park would have been completed by now – including saving the totally unnecessary capital cost of removing the camphor trees – the “magnificent camphor laurel trees” as referred to by consultant John Butterworth, of about five park plans ago. How can one council get it all so wrong for so long? Current groundswell advice to Council right now is to just walk away from McLachlan Park, leave it as it is pro tem, and maybe later we will get a council with the ability to a) listen, and b) get it right, with what is left of the public funds available. Roger McLean (former Engineering Assistant, Maclean Shire Council) & Warren Rackham (former Town Planner, Maclean Shire Council)