Yamba gets dudded: councillor
By SALLY GORDON
COUNCILLOR Doug Mackenzie believes tourist hotspot, Yamba, 'could be so much better' if only the council would spend some money in the area.
During an extraordinary meeting in Grafton yesterday the Yamba councillor tore strips off council's 2006/2007 management plan and budget.
Cr Mackenzie criticised council's treatment of Yamba, Angourie, Wooloweyah and Woombah, saying 'paltry' amounts were being spent on coastal reserves and sporting facilities in Yamba.
"When one considers the population, development and basically the high growth rates we've (Yamba) had, we should be getting a fairer share of the budget," Cr Mackenzie said.
"There's a paltry amount being spent on our coastal reserves despite caravan park income, Section 94 payments, grants and rates.
"Yamba raises nearly over $3 million in rates, we raise more rates per person than any other community."
The impassioned councillor said the greatest current driver of economic activity in the Valley was tourism.
"Yamba has been a tourist town for years, but what experience are we giving to these tourists?" he said.
He also demanded that in next year's budget, the council give Yamba, Angourie, Wooloweyah and Woombah a 'fair go based on the revenue they generated'.
"Cross subsidy is one thing, exploitation is another," the councillor said after the twohour meeting.
Mayor Ian Tiley declined to respond to his comments.
But, council's director of corporate services, Ross Bryant said it was the role of council to decide what its main priorities were.
Mr Bryant said the situation was not unlike State and Federal Government expenditure, where revenue was not necessarily spent where it was raised.
"There is an effort to undertake works right across the area, but there are areas where council has to determine priorities, where there are specific needs that have to be addressed," he said.