Grafton residents revolt over development plan controversy
GRAFTON could lose one of its most popular tourist parks if plans to build another manufactured housing estate in the Clarence go ahead.
Hometown Australia has submitted a development application to change the 62 short-term camping, caravan and unit sites to long term sites, converting it into a manufactured housing estate.
The proposal has been met with a mixture of shock and outrage by some permanent residents at Jacaranda Grove (formerly Grafton Gateway) who said they did not find out about the development until after the DA had been submitted to council.
Three of the residents, Dorothy Chorley, Sue Jacquin and Kay Martin have since called on Hometown to withdraw from the DA a letter which they say is an unfair representation of the residents' views.
The letter, dated December 30 and signed by the chair of the residents' committee states that "on behalf of residents, we hereby confirm our support for the proposal and request council to approve the DA in its current form and without amendment".
Ms Chorley questioned how the committee could represent the views of residents on such a critical issue when not all residents were made aware of it
She said she was told by a former committee member the letter was written by Hometown and sent to the chair to sign.
The Daily Examiner has seen correspondences from one committee member that appeared to confirm this.
"It's not even a letter the committee wrote themselves," she said.
"They never even wrote the bloody letter - I mean how wrong is that?"
Ms Chorley said the development would destroy much of what was great about the park and have residents "crammed in like sardines".
Ms Jacquin was most concerned with the removal of the caravan park and said a reduction in short-term accommodation would negatively affect the wider Grafton community.
"We don't want the caravan park to go. It's too much of a drawcard for people to come and stay and for the whole town. Especially race days, race week (July Racing Carnival) and Jacaranda," she said.
"I think it is going to impact on the whole town because people come in and spend money and if there is no caravan park they won't. They go to the club, they spend money, they go shopping, they go to the races.
"We are a little country town, we are not Forster where you have the ocean and the beach and lots of caravan parks. We have one main caravan park and that is this one."
The women also raised concerns with the number of cleaner and reception jobs that could be lost if the development went ahead.
In addition to the 57 new long-term sites, Hometown has proposed a new community building and 45 additional parking spaces and removing structures associated with the short-term accommodation.
Comments on the development application can be lodged with Clarence Valley Council before 4pm today.
The proposal is the second in the Clarence by the American manufactured housing estate giant Hometown. It submitted a proposal for Yamba Waters in November.
Hometown Australia were contacted for comment and have since met with residents of the Jacaranda Grove.