SIX Maclean residents who braved a "grilling" from Clarence Valley councillors have given the community a chance to retain a controversial piece of riverside land in the town's CBD.
The residents - Nicki Holmes, Ian Saunders, Warren Rackham, Bob McPherson, Ian McLennan and Peter Gordon - representing a number of community organisations, made deputations to the Clarence Valley Council's Environment, Planning and Community committee meeting on Tuesday.
All the deputations related to the council's plans for the former North Coast Water building at 1 McNaughton Place, which is part of a group of nine parcels of land the council wants to reclassify from community to operational land prior to their sale.
Should council hang onto 1 McNaughton Place?
This poll ended on 09 December 2016.
Yes. The location has historical significance and Maclean should make better use of its river frontage.
No. Selling assets and reducing debt should be priority number one for council - what a perfect opportunity.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Most of the speakers believed the land should stay with the community as a trade off to community land lost when a section of Cameron Park was lost to the Maclean supermarket development.
They believe the park could be linked by a boardwalk to McLachlan Park, providing a southern access point to the town's waterfront.
The speakers also noted the area had historical significance for both the town's Scottish heritage and its indigenous history.
After each speaker's deputation each speaker had to answer questions from deputy mayor Jason Kingsley about how many people their organisations represented.
During debate on the report Cr Peter Ellem characterised this line of question as grilling more at home in the communist party.
But Cr Kingsley countered, saying the question was an honest attempt to gauge the reach of each organisation into the community.
The deputations encouraged Greens councillor Greg Clancy to move a motion recommending 1 McNaughton Pl to be removed from the list of properties to be sold and to consult with the community to determine the best use of the site.
Cr Ellem seconded the motion and said retaining the land could help Maclean make better use of river frontage as he had seen happen in Ballina.
But Cr Andrew Baker criticised the proposal and said the community had ample time and opportunity over the past year to make its feelings known.
The committee voted 3-2 in support of Cr Clancy's motion.Yesterday two of the people who made deputations said they were encouraged by the vote. Ian Saunders, who ran for council at the last election, said the vote showed the new council was prepared to listen to the community. "I know it has to go to the full council next week, but the committee vote is a good sign," he said. Former Maclean town planner Warren Rackham said he had received a good hearing. He had no issue with the questioning from the deputy mayor, but cautioned Maclean residents tended to leave attending meetings and making public statements to others. "Just about about everyone I speak to when I'm down the street would agree on this, but they wouldn't go to a meeting to say it," he said.