From the Newsroom

Photo 1: Uncle Ken Gordon, Bill Dougherty, CVC General Manager Ashley Lindsay, Councillor Jason Kingsley and CVC Mayor Jim Simmons proudly cut the ribbon and officially open the recently renovated CVC building in Prince Street, Grafton, as the crowd watches on. Image: Emma Pritchard

New CVC building officially opened

Emma Pritchard

Applause filled the air as the red ribbon was cut in two, officially opening the newly refurbished Clarence Valley Council (CVC) premises in Prince Street, Grafton.

Described by CVC General Manager Ashley Lindsay as a very proud moment and a historic day for council, the event signified the conclusion of a project which started a number of years ago to upgrade and modernise the building, which was originally opened in 1968, and significantly improve accessibility for the local community.

CVC General Manager Ashley Lindsay, CVC Mayor Jim Simmons and former alderman Bill Dougherty, prepare to lower the 1968 and 2021 time capsules into the ground following the opening ceremony of the refurbished CVC building. Image: Emma Pritchard

The $7.9 million transformation includes the welcome addition of a lift, and the installation of energy efficient measures including solar power, improved insulation and LED lighting throughout the facility to reduce running costs.

Speaking to the crowd who attended the official opening on November 23, Mr Lindsay said the upgrades would ensure the building will be able to efficiently serve the Clarence Valley community well into the future, adding he was extremely pleased the facility is now openly accessible to all members of the community and staff.

Deputy Mayor Jason Kingsley, who could only access the council chamber and the ground floor prior to the refurbishments due to limited mobility, also emphasised how proud he was to see the completion of the much-needed upgrade and what it means to the local community.      

The front foyer of the newly refurbished building also features a specially commissioned artwork by local Indigenous artists Frances Belle Parker (Yaegl), Uncle Joe Walker (Bundjalung) and Deborah Taylor (Gumbaynggirr), to formally recognise the cultural history of the Clarence Valley and the First Nations people.

Following a traditional welcome to country by Uncle Ken Gordon and proud Bundjalung youth Lennox Monaghan, CVC Mayor Jim Simmons stepped up to the microphone and spoke about the opening of the original Prince Street building 53 years ago.

As he reflected on the many changes the modern structure incorporated, he also spoke about a time capsule which was originally buried on site in 1968 and rediscovered during the recent renovations.

Containing early editions of The Daily Examiner, an English half-florin and aerial photos of Grafton and South Grafton, the time capsule was widely admired by attendees, but remained unopened.  

Following the conclusion of the opening ceremony, it was placed in a secure crate and lowered back into the ground by Mr Lindsay, Mr Simmons and former alderman Bill Dougherty, alongside another time capsule which was prepared especially for the occasion.

The 2021 time capsule, which will be reopened in 100 years, contains a coastal emu feather and information about the critically endangered species, a koala brochure, Indigenous artworks, a face mask, and a copy of the Clarence Valley Independent.