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More than 50 people attended a community conversation on Monday last week to discuss the future of Ulmarra, after the Pacific Highway bypasses the village. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Village plans for highway bypass

Lynne Mowbray | More than 50 members of the community came together on Monday May 7, to discuss future plans for Ulmarra, after the Pacific Highway by-passes the village. Representatives from the community included residents, business owners, SES, Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, Bob Higgins (RMS), Clarence Valley Council (CVC) including CVC General Manager, Ashley Lindsay and CVC councillors Andrew Baker and Greg Clancy. CVC economic development coordinator, Liz Fairweather hosted the meeting which followed on from a community conversation held on March 26, to brainstorm ideas to ensure the sustainability of the village into the future. The suggestions and ideas raised at the first meeting (of what the community would like to see for Ulmarra) were on display for the community to build on, prioritise and formulate into a plan. These ideas were collated into categories; marketing and promotions, business development, infrastructure and events. Those attending the meeting were given around 20 minutes to discuss the suggestions raised in each of the categories and write down their suggestions on sticky notes. Residents then prioritised their ideas under three sections; instant wins, great ideas with barriers and projects that could maybe happen someday. Several ‘instant win’ ideas were already incorporated into the proposed upgrade of Bailey Park; a concept plan for Bailey Park was on display at the meeting, for feedback from the community. Among the suggestions posted were: use the showground to encourage caravan and RV tourists, promote tourist drive Grafton to Maclean, river cruises Grafton to Maclean, make Ulmarra a ‘go to’ place eg markets, buskers, events etc and focus on Ulmarra’s history as a river port. Ms Fairweather said that council will put a draft plan together (from the information collated on the night) and bring it back to the next meeting. “Some of the action plans will be council driven, while others will be driven by the community, with the assistance from council,” Ms Fairweather said. “The community can then comment on the action plans, or add more, and then we will meet again so we can keep driving the project forward,” she said. During the meeting, Steve Pickering from Ulmarra’s Coldstream Gallery announced that he was looking to start a progress association (for the village) and asked anyone interested, to contact him and put their name down. CVC General Manager Ashley Lindsay said that the CVC is committed to promoting Ulmarra as a destination after the highway bypasses the village. “We’re (CVC) committed to promote Ulmarra’s heritage values and to make the village a destination,” Mr Lindsay said.