I have read Mayor Richie Williamson’s press release in the Independent newspaper, dated Wednesday, July 29. The mayor quotes, “I encourage Maclean residents and others with an interest in the park to have a look at the artist’s impressions that have been installed at either end of the park. That will illustrate what a great community facility it will become”. What a spin commercial our mayor is claiming here. What he should be saying is council is offering Maclean a chopped down version of the best plan for McLachlan Park.
The boardwalk was the core feature on the King and Campbell plan that widened the feel of the park, allowing people the best way to engage with the river. Mayor Williamson has claimed that the boardwalk was too expensive to build, therefore it has to go. The true facts here is that council wasted too much money in the early planning of McLachlan Park, simply trying to satisfy a small group with commercial interest.
The end results are now surfacing; that from the ($1.3M) park budget, council has fallen into a budget blow-out and will not be able to fund the full boardwalk. Instead, council is substituting the full boardwalk with three small ‘viewing platforms’. Apparently, this chopped down version of a boardwalk is acceptable to our mayor and he has the audacity to tell Maclean to get over it and accept the new plan, as council needs to move on and get the job done.
Why should the Maclean community accept what is seen as second best, just because council foolishly has demonstrated poor management with this park project?
It has become clear to me that council did not appoint a project manager, otherwise this drawn out débâcle would not have unfolded showing such budget problems. To my mind council should build the boardwalk, level the soil in the park, both essential elements of the project and focus on what money is left to fund the non-essential items.
Having said that, I remind council that Maclean has not forgotten the ($2.46m) banked from the sale of community land and the carpark. Mayor Williamson has given a public assurance that this money will be spent only in Maclean. Therefore, can our mayor inform the Maclean community where this money will be spent, surely not on roads to commercially prop-up the proposed IGA supermarket? (This is community money not commercial).
Council should provide what is best for Maclean, which the locals so richly deserve and stop treating the downriver people like poor cousins within the Grafton/Clarence Valley Council.
Bob MacPherson, Maclean