Topics:  clarence valley council, craig howe, karen toms, richie williamson

Williamson returns as mayor

Richie Williamson has been returned as Clarence Valley Mayor for 2012-13.
Richie Williamson has been returned as Clarence Valley Mayor for 2012-13. Jojo Newby

UPDATE 10PM: Observers were hardly surprised to see Richie Williamson restored as Clarence Valley Mayor on Tuesday night with a 7-2 victory over Karen Toms at 4.04pm - four minutes after the meeting began at the Maclean chambers.

The vote for deputy mayor was, however, far more intriguing with four councillors - Margaret McKenna, Andrew Baker, Craig Howe and Jeremy Challacombe - putting their hands up for the post.

Just like the mayoral vote, the votes of councillors were kept private.

After the first round the vote tallies were McKenna 1, Challacombe 1, Baker 3 and Howe 4. Cr McKenna and Cr Challacombe's names were "thrown into a hat" before Cr McKenna's name was removed to eliminate her from the next round. The second round saw councillors Howe and Baker with four votes and Cr Challacombe with one, eliminating him from the contest.

The next vote placed Cr Howe back in the deputy mayor's chair - five votes to Cr Baker four.

The council's Environment, Economic and Community Committee now consists of councillors Sue Hughes, Margaret McKenna, Craig Howe and Andrew Baker.

The Civil and Corporate Committee consists of councillors Jeremy Challacombe, Jason Kingsley, Karen Toms and Jim Simmons.

The first real topic to come before the newly elected Clarence Valley Council - new parking spaces for recreational vehicles in Grafton - resulted in extensive debate.

Cr Karen Toms objected to the wording of the report councillors were being asked to vote on, which, she said, implied that the council had agreed to become a designated RV (recreational vehicle) Friendly Town - an accredi- tation granted by the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA).

"I attended a meeting with the group (CMCA) at the Grafton chambers on the 23rd of March, 2010 and I haven't seen any mention of it since and now, here we are being asked to vote on it. When did we decide as a council to do this?" she asked.

Deputy general manager Des Schroder, who signed off on the report, explained further details on the issue but had to concede that it was an initiative of council staff rather than a vote of council that had prompted the push to an RV Town.

Cr Sue Hughes said she could not believe the issue was being debated when there was clear benefit for the community.

The motion to support the introduction of RV parking at three Grafton locations was supported by all councillors except Karen Toms and Andrew Baker.



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