Mayor’s vote buries part of park under parking lot

EVEN a Joni Mitchell line: "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot," couldn't save Maclean's Cameron Park.

On Tuesday night Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson used his casting vote and decided part of the park would become 70 new car spaces.

Only a small gallery of seven people turned out in protest to save the park and they applauded each time a councillor spoke in favour of the green space.

Most of those present were from the Greater Maclean Action Group and the Joni Mitchell quote was read out by their spokeswoman, Lyn Overton, at a committee meeting last week. But the decision was not a simple one.

The council wanted to replace the parking bays which would be lost to make way for an IGA supermarket.

Maclean's new IGA will be built on the car park next to Cameron Park.

Crs Hughes, Howe, Challacombe and Simmons mounted a last-minute effort to save the tidy town's green space, but in the end the cost of purchasing private land to build more car parks was deemed too great.

"We are talking here about a decision that has the potential to cost the council a lot of money, money which could be better spent on relocating the fisheries building or in McLachlan Park," Cr Williamson said.

He was speaking in opposition to a motion to use money from the sale of the IGA site to buy land in Maclean and build a car park.

It was estimated this could cost about $1 million.

The trade-off was plans to link Maclean back to the Clarence River will now be sped up under the riverside precinct plan, as per a resolution made by the environment planning and works committee last Tuesday.

This means the council must buy the Fisheries building on River St, from the State Government and replace the green space it will bury under a parking lot.

Cr Andrew Baker declared an interest as owner of a property adjoining the park. Crs Toms, McKenna, Kingsley and Williamson voted in favour of the parking lot and the mayor's vote clinched it.

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