Sunday, November 27, 2022

Raising a cup towards future progress

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Emma Pritchard, Clarence Valley Independent

Members of the local community were invited to have a cuppa with Clarence Valley Councillors last week.

Councillors 2022
Clarence Valley Councillors (l-r) Karen Toms, Ian Tiley (Mayor), Allison Whaites, Greg Clancy (Deputy Mayor), Debrah Novak, William Day, Peter Johnstone, Steve Pickering and Jeff Smith. Photo: contributed.

Between 10am and 12pm on January 28, several residents arrived at the Grafton Council Chambers in Prince St and spent the morning chatting with councillors, sharing their concerns, identifying areas of improvement, and raising awareness of community events.

Treasurer of the Glenreagh Rail and Station Preservation Society (GRASPS) David Murray said attending the event last week was an opportunity to provide councillors with an update regarding their progress as they continue to work towards restoring the historic 106-year-old station on the North Coast Line.

He acknowledged the support council has previously extended towards GRASPS and happily engaged with newly elected councillors about the ongoing project.

Across the room, other residents congratulated some of the newly elected councillors in attendance including Jeff Smith and Allison Whaites-Bryant, while others spoke to established councillors about ongoing issues within the local community.

Unsafe footpaths, a reduction of shaded areas in the Grafton CBD and lack of seating and clean amenities in public parks were common topics raised in conversation.

Newly elected councillor Peter Johnstone said the event was a fantastic opportunity for residents to speak one-on-one with councillors directly.

“It really was an opportune time to meet and speak with people from our community, and it was an important step for council moving forward,” he said.

Cr Johnstone said all issues raised during the morning were listened to and discussed at length, and he thanked the community for attending and sharing their feedback.

Established councillor Karen Toms welcomed the suggestions raised by attendees and said council will address key issues as the new term progresses.

“We’re here for our community, people have shared what they want with us and they’ve been heard,” she said.

Several key points raised by concerned residents included:

  • RV designated parking in Grafton.
  • Costs for the RV club to use camp areas.
  • Prince St – often looking unkept.
  • Notable absence of street sweepers.
  • High number of closed businesses in Prince St and the subsequent litter caused by junk mail/leaflets left under their doorways.
  • Do not sell the tourist information building.
  • Cultural capability framework.
  • Stronger advertising of local events.
  • Stronger communication between council and the community.
  • Calls for a full-time Aboriginal Officer.
  • DMU meetings – calls for a more helpful attitude.
  • The old servo station in South Grafton – improving the site locally referred to as an eyesore at the entrance to town.

CVC will host another “Cuppa with the Councillors” event at the Maclean Council Chambers between 10am – 12pm on February 4.

Clarence Valley Independent 2 February 2022

This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 2 February 2022.



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