Last week, former deputy mayor of Grafton, Heather Roland, sent a letter to the editor (DE 7/12/17) regarding the secrecy surrounding Clarence Valley Council (CVC) plans to destroy our Valley’s award-winning Visitor Information Centres (VIC) and the wonderful tourism services they have provided for decades.
Heather was a councillor who rolled up her sleeves to get the job done.
In the days when the local tourism industry worked in a wonderful partnership with councils to fund and deliver services to visitors, Heather served on the board of the Clarence River Tourist Association (CRTA) for many of those years and she was one of the most effective councillors that I worked with in my 20 years managing the CRTA.
Heather is wrong about one item…..CVC is no longer proposing to lease the South Grafton VIC to Oliver’s Restaurants…the plan now is to close the VIC; transfer VIC staff to the council chambers; and cash in that magnificent building and the land at the South Grafton crossroads that Heather, and many others, fought so hard to fund.
The amazing thing is that current councillors have not even requested a workshop at the VIC where they can talk to the VIC front-line staff. One councillor recently defended the fact that he has never personally checked out the VIC via an email to me….it appears that most councillors are either running scared of CVC staff, or they’re just too lazy to get their own background information which will totally contradict the material they have been provided.
When the VICs are closed…..when the real estate has been sold and the money squandered…..there will be no turning back the clock for our local tourism industry.
It’s five minutes to midnight……but it’s not too late until the doors slam shut and the auctioneers hammer falls.
Former CRTA manager