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The May 7 workshop (pictured) developed potential “actions” and the subsequent workshop on July 27 reviewed the draft Ulmarra Bypass Community Economic Development Plan and identified “community project leaders”. Image: Lynne Mowbray

‘Can-do’ Ulmarra plans for life after highway

Geoff Helisma |

Clarence Valley’s councillors will most likely adopt a plan that sets out the way forward for Ulmarra after the new highway, which bypasses the village, is constructed.

The Ulmarra Bypass Community Economic Development Plan May 2018 is the result of the Clarence Valley Council’s (CVC) economic development unit (EDU) meeting with Ulmarra residents at a “community conversation” in March and two workshops in May and July.

Staff report to next week’s council meeting: “Residents demonstrated pride in their community and the desire for the village to be sustainable after the bypass.

“Rather than focus on the negatives this may bring, this can-do community understood the bypass provides many opportunities for the development of Ulmarra by increasing business and for growing as a tourist destination within the Clarence Valley.”

Staff advise councillors that the plan is designed to: “act as a framework to direct activities identified by the Ulmarra community; document the outcomes of the community planning workshops; facilitate cooperative relationships between the community and external partners; and, formalise the goals.”

The next step, to “formalise the goals”, relies on councillors supporting the allocation of “$50,000 to develop an Ulmarra Riverside & Village Precinct Plan” – these funds would be sourced from a Section 94 Open Space reserve (its balance as at the end of the 17/18 financial year was $326,673).

Section 94 funds are levy contributions, charged to developers, to be used for the provision of public amenities and services as a consequence of development.

On developing a village precinct plan, staff advise that it would provide “leverage” when applying for grants.
“Historically, the development of urban design type concept plans has been a very successful approach by Clarence Valley Council to attract ‘shovel ready’ funding,” staff advise, “for example; Skinner Street South Grafton, Maclean Riverside Precinct Plan and Grafton Riverfront Precinct Plan”.

Summing up the EDU’s interaction with the Ulmarra community, staff wrote in the report to council, in part: “The community was widely consulted, with over 100 (in total not individual) Ulmarra community members attending three Council-run public meetings.

“There was strong acceptance of the draft Ulmarra Bypass CED [Community Economic Development] Plan, with the overall response being positive: two (2) positive emails were received, two (2) positive telephone calls thanking Council for their work and interest in the community, and general feedback from a community member and Ulmarra Village Inc, which were directly related to actions rather than the strategy.
“No negative feedback was received.”