SAVING HISTORY: The model of the plan for saving parts of the ferry and punt in Maclean's Ferry Park which Wally Gates brought to council on Tuesday.
SAVING HISTORY: The model of the plan for saving parts of the ferry and punt in Maclean's Ferry Park which Wally Gates brought to council on Tuesday. Jarrard Potter

Last ditch plan for Ferry Park's historic icons

AS TIME runs out for two of Maclean's historic icons disintegrating in the weather, a Maclean man has resurrected his plan to at least save a memory of them.

At Tuesday's Clarence Valley Council environment planning and community committee meeting Wally Gates outlined his plan for building a three-walled rotunda to display different salvaged aspects of the Ashby ferry and cane punt.

He brought along a wooden model of his proposed structure, which he has used to outline the idea to community groups for the past five years.

Mr Gates, who jokingly laughed off any connection to a US billionaire, said his inspiration came from his childhood in Sydney and the exploits of the Australian naval ship HMAS Sydney in World War I.

"In 1914 the HMAS Sydney sunk the German ship the Emden, and that was months before Gallipoli, which made it our first engagement in World War I," Mr Gates said.

"When they scuttled it, they cut the bow off it and put it in a wall at Milson's Point under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the mast and tower is at Bradley's Head.

"I thought we could do the same thing with the Ashby ferry and cane punt."

Mr Gates, a member of the Maclean Community Action Group, said he had the backing of the Malcean Chamber of Commerce, the MCAG, local service clubs and the media for his proposal, but it would need some money for it to proceed.

The committee has given four months to find backers who could bring the plan to fruition.

Cr Andrew Baker said four months should be plenty of time to find out if there was serious support.

"This has been going on for four years," he said. "I can remember Mr Gates presented this plan to us then."

Cr Debrah Novak asked if council could find any grants to help fund his proposal.

The council's general manager, Ashley Lindsay, said staff could check what grants were available for these types of projects.

The committee was unanimous in voting the council agree to the project, but allow a four month deferral on commencement.

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