SIGN OF THE TIMES: The name of Coutts Crossing has been at the centre of debate in the Clarence Valley community.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: The name of Coutts Crossing has been at the centre of debate in the Clarence Valley community. Bill North

COUTTS VOTES: Meeting called to discuss renaming

AT LEAST 97 per cent of Coutts Crossing residents don't want their village name changed says the convener of a public meeting called to discuss the issue on Wednesday night.

Coutts Crossing resident Adrian Pryor said residents were opposed to a proposal to rename the village, because its name comemmorated an early settler, Thomas Coutts, who was thought to have poisoned 23 Aboriginal people in 1847.

Mr Pryor said during his discussions to promote the meeting there was almost universal opposition to a name change.

"The Daily Examiner has an online poll running about 66 per cent to 33 per cent for a name change," he said.

"I believe this vote will blow those figures out of the water. This vote will be from residents and it will be almost total support for not renaming."

Mr Pryor has called a meeting in Coronation Hall, Coutts Crossing and expect a big turn out.

"People from both sides, those in favour of a change and those against are invited to have their say," Mr Pryor said.

"We believe people from Coutts and surround areas like Lower Kangaroo Creek, Braunstone and Blaxlands Creek should be the ones who have their say.

"They're the ones who are going to have to cover the expense of all the changes that will come from any renaming."

Mr Pryor expected the meeting to attract a big crowd and has some procedures in place to run the meeting.

"We're going to put a time limit of two minutes on each speaker," he said.

"There will be a vote at the end of the meeting so we can get an idea of how the meeting feels about the topic."

Mr Pryor said voting slips with a simple question, like "do you want the village of Coutts Crossing to renamed?" would be distributed.

"There will be ballot boxes with a big "Yes" and a big "No" to cast votes," he said.

"The result of the vote will non-binding, it's merely to determine the feelings of the community."

Mr Pryor said he had spoken to a prominent supporter of the campaign for renaming, local ecologist and Clarence Valley councillor, Dr Greg Clancy.

"We are each going to nominate people to monitor the voting," Mr Pryor said.

Despite the opposition to a renaming of the village, Mr Pryor said residents could be sympathetic to including a traditional name on signage around the town.

"That was an idea that received a lot of support at the meeting at in Grafton and I think people here would consider it," he said.

"I could be on the signs at the southern and northern entrances to the town.

"It would also have the best chance of bringing the community together over what has become a divisive issue."

Tonight's meeting will be held in the Coronation Hall, Coutts Crossing, from 7.30pm.



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