Whose best interest?

I CAN assure Mr Tim Ross (letters 18/5/13) I am aware Yamba has two swimming pools in close proximity to each other.

The Yamba heated pool was built from the sale of chook raffles and the rock pool, not renovated at a cost of $1m as Mr Ross alleges, but $260k paid from the Clarence Coast Reserves Trust Fund.

Rather than slug ratepayers $7m for an ostentatious Grafton waterfront precinct, the communities of Iluka, Yamba and Brooms Head have sacrificed their prime foreshore lands with caravan parks that responsibly generate revenues to pay for their community's services. So I am glad Mr Ross enjoys the free use of our rock pool.

Without any community consultation, senior council staff negligently removed part of Yamba's regional cycleway and, without properly informing the Local Traffic Committee, dangerously diverted cyclists onto a walkway they knew did not comply with the council's own safety standards.

Most law-abiding citizens believed that senior staff responsible for such outrageous behaviour should have personally paid for the damage they caused, similar to that of a private contractor under the same circumstances. But Mayor Williams and his fellow councillors charged it to the ratepayers.

I have no qualms with council amalgamations. What gets up my nostrils is that a financially vi- able Maclean Council provided basic services for its low-income- per-capita population but was undemocratically taken over by a broke Grafton Council in order to increase its rates to pay for the lavish services that Grafton itself was unable to pay.

Should pensioners, the innocent victims of Grafton's bullyboy takeover dare to complain, they are arrogantly told "to get over it" and to "move on".

We are now looking at a $2m deficit. Yet the Grafton council is more concerned with increasing the rates of people who cannot afford them, rather than reducing Grafton's extravagant services that it could not afford to pay and is the cause of the problem.

The ABS show Maclean's weekly median household income to be $72 less than Grafton's and it has one third of its population 65 years or over compared to Grafton's 16%.

Does Mr Ross believe Grafton council to be acting in the public interest of this one valley council, or in the interests of Grafton?

Ray Hunt,

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