The communities of Ulmarra, Townsend, and Gulmarrad have three million reasons to smile after Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis made an encouraging announcement last week.
As he stood alongside Clarence Valley Council (CVC) Mayor Jim Simmons, Mr. Gulaptis revealed $3 million in post-Pacific Highway public works grants will help make the local communities more resident and visitor friendly.
As a former surveyor, Mr. Gulaptis said he encouraged the NSW Government “not to repeat the mistakes of the past when bypassed towns were left to fend for themselves with fewer visitors and crumbling road infrastructure.”
“We did that first by fixing and upgrading the old highway, now known as Big River Way, and now by funding two terrific community projects CVC has come up with,” he said.
The first project is a foot and bike path that will link the communities of Townsend and Gulmarrad to Maclean from the existing pathway built as part of the highway upgrade at the Maclean interchange.
As a Maclean resident, Mr Gulaptis said he understood how beneficial this would be to the area.
“In particular, it links Maclean High School and Pacific Valley Christian School and gives safer access to town for residents of the Hillcrest Aboriginal community,” he said.
“It also provides safe access to the Townsend Park for residents of Maclean, which is currently undergoing a major upgrade.”
Mr. Simmons said the extension of the pathway linking Townsend and Maclean comes at a pivotal time for the local communities as they experience significant growth and increased demand for services and infrastructure.
“Projects such as these help to create healthy and dynamic communities,” he said.
Mr. Gulaptis said the second project in Ulmarra, would see the further beautification of the historic riverside town which is no longer impacted by noisy highway traffic.
“Ulmarra is going to get better and better without the B-doubles, and become a destination in its own right, rather than just a nice place to stop, revive and survive on your road trip,” Mr. Gulaptis said.
“We are giving CVC money for a significant public space upgrade, particularly around Bailey Park which means more open space, more trees, more riverfront access, and more appeal for locals and tourists alike.
“Residents are really excited and positive about these changes as they will enable the village to put itself on the map as a tourist destination.”