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Clarence Valley Council’s plan for the redevelopment of Maclean’s riverfront, sans boardwalk, was submitted for approval to the federal government’s Community Development Grant fund in November 2016. Image: Contributed.

Boardwalk: Hogan given ‘incorrect’ information

Clarence Valley Council’s plan for the redevelopment of Maclean’s riverfront, sans boardwalk, was submitted for approval to the federal government’s Community Development Grant fund in November 2016. Image: Contributed.

Kevin Hogan says his government’s $1.8million commitment to fund the next stage of Maclean’s riverfront redevelopment is not threatened by Clarence Valley Council’s decision to not build a boardwalk.
At the November council meeting, councillors unanimously endorsed a proposal to apply to the federal government’s Community Development Grant fund to complete the McLachlan Park redevelopment, upgrade the court house riverfront in McNaughton Place, construct a foreshore promenade from McNaughton Place to ‘Riverside Square’ (located behind the Maclean Hotel) and upgrade Munro Lane’s connection to the square.
In June last year, during the federal election campaign, the Nationals deputy leader, Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash, and Member for Page Kevin Hogan announced that the Australian Government would contribute $1.8million towards the construction of a boardwalk.
“We, as the Nationals, are absolutely committed to investing in the regions and its people … to grow strong sustainable communities into the future,” Senator Nash said at the announcement, held at McLachlan Park.
“Kevin was absolutely tireless in advocating for this.”
Senator Nash said the project would generate “about 20 jobs as a part of construction and ongoing jobs”.
Mayor at the time, Richie Williamson, said: “It’s a staggering amount of money; the funds announced today will complete McLachlan Park and construction of the board walk, stage 3 of the Clouston Plan.”
The council’s works and civil director Tory Anderson said in November 2016 that the adopted plan was a result of CVC’s “consultation with the community … with consideration of the amount of money available”.
“The consensus was there were higher priorities than a boardwalk,” he said.
Last week, Mr Hogan answered an enquiry from Facebook advocacy and watchdog group, The Clarence Forum.
Mr Hogan wrote that he “was informed” during the election campaign that the grant money applied for would be for “Stages 2 and 3 of the project, including the boardwalk extension from McLachlan Park to Riverside Square and the completion of works at McLachlan Park”.
“At a recent meeting with council, I was told that the previous information I received was not correct,” he wrote.
“The next stage of the project, once McLachlan Park is completed, is to ‘bookend’ the project with the Court House Riverfront Heritage Precinct.
“In addition, Clarence Valley Council intends to complete three other elements of the Maclean Precinct Plan with the Federal money: the Foreshore Promenade, Riverside Square and Munro Lane.
“I am assured by council that there are then plans to build the boardwalk.
“However, I am told this is not feasible until after the Court House Riverside Heritage Precinct is completed along with the Foreshore Promenade, Riverside Square and Munro Lane upgrade.
“I am disappointed there was confusion and incorrect information given about the next stages that were to be built when the money was committed.
“However, I am very keen to ensure the Federal money is delivered and spent on this wonderful project for Maclean. I look forward to the completion of all the stages of the project.”
The Clarence Forum says its “agenda” is based on the “belief” that “all levels of Government need to be accountable and transparent, and this is particularly true when it comes to Public Money”.

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