Yamba Chamber of Commerce?s Bob Thompson introduces speakers at the first Clarence Valley Meet the Candidates Forum
Yamba Chamber of Commerce?s Bob Thompson introduces speakers at the first Clarence Valley Meet the Candidates Forum

Council candidates state their claims

By SALLY GORDON

THERE were no black eyes or bloodied noses to come out of round one of the meet the candidates forum in Yamba on Tuesday night.

It was more a case of a verbal showdown as 24 prospective Clarence Valley Council candidates took to the stage at the Yamba Bowling Club to introduce themselves and their visions for the Valley.

The Yamba Chamber of Commerce had allowed no more than five minutes for each candidate to give a short bio of themselves and answer six pre-determined, issue-based questions.

The Yamba skate park received support across the field, with many touting the facility a good start to addressing anti-social behaviour at Yamba. Candidates agreed that a more proactive approach towards keeping youth involved and proud of their town also was needed.

Gordon Smith, of Great Time Cruises, told the crowd of 100 or so voters, that 92 per cent of business operators along Grafton's Prince Street were in favour of taking a tougher stance against crime. He said he believed surveillance cameras were the best option.

Fellow candidate Terry Flanagan accused the 'beat-up' of youth crime at Yamba as being a thorn in the area's economic and tourism development. He also slammed the idea of cameras as being costly and ineffective.

"Cameras ? go out to Bourke and have a look at them in town; some of the kids out there are the best shots with a shanghai you've ever seen. They don't work, councils can't afford to keep them going all the time anyway," he said.

Many candidates, including South Grafton resident Merilyn Baxter and Vivienne Hughes, of Junction Hill, hoped council would settle on a 'greener' solution to sewage disposal at Yamba.

All speakers promised residents across the Valley an equitable share of rate revenue. But more than half of the candidates failed to provide any practical proposals.

Many candidates, particularly the newcomers, said they knew little about the Yamba sewerage augmentation scheme because the draft environmental impact statement had not been publicly displayed.



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