McLachlan Park revamp to go ahead despite being over budget

WORK will begin on the revamp of Maclean's McLachlan Park after Easter, even though the simplified plan still comes in over budget.

At Tuesday's Clarence Valley Council meeting the Mayor, Richie Williamson, moved to approve a plan which incorporates elements from all three previous designs for the park and converts it into a two-stage development.

Council approved the plan, which incorporates keeping the southernmost two of the four contentious camphor laurel trees in the current park.

The two-stage plan for McLachlan Park produced at Tuesday's Clarence Valley Council meeting. The council will proceed with work in the areas marked Area 1 and 3. The sections marked Area 2 with red borders will be retained as they are for the time being.
The two-stage plan for McLachlan Park produced at Tuesday's Clarence Valley Council meeting. The council will proceed with work in the areas marked Area 1 and 3. The sections marked Area 2 with red borders will be retained as they are for the time being. Tim Howard

Cr Williamson said the plan's costing of $1,133,700 was above the $1,225,230.64 that remained in the budget, but his plan included a 15% or $206,700 contingency component and other costs which he said would be lower once construction started.

He said the plan retained the $60,000 costing for removal and replacement of all four camphor laurels, but this was likely to be significantly lower.

Cr Williamson also plans to cut the $70,000 costs of replacing the park furniture by asking organisation like the Men's Shed and U3A to become involved.

The council has also significantly cut costs by using its staff for much of the construction work.

Cr Williamson said the middle of the park including the two northern camphor laurels, would remain as stage 2 of the project, for technical as well as cost reasons.

The council's director of corporate governance and works, Troy Anderson, told the council the levee wall appeared to rely on the dirt mound inside the levee wall for stability.

"The levee wall is a combination of a concrete levee and earth mound," he said. "The concrete walls are just 900mm thick and are in 8m long sections sitting there, held by gravity.

"The dirt on the roadside of the levee could be supporting it and removing it would require a specific levee design."

Councillors quizzed the mayor and Mr Anderson about elements of the design.

Cr Karen Toms was worried the new design was not easily accessible for people with a disability.

"I understand the red area (Area 2), the topography will remain the same," she said.

"How will someone in a wheelchair get across there if it stays like it is."

Mr Anderson said there were access points in both Areas 1 and 3 for disabled people to get from the footpath to the river's edge.

Cr Margaret McKenna was concerned the figures in Cr Williamson's plan could be too optimistic.

"I'm pleased to see it go ahead, but I don't think it's the best outcome for the people of Maclean," she said.

Cr Arthur Lysaught was more enthusiastic. He wanted work to start tomorrow and had to be reminded the park was a centrepoint of the Highland Gathering, which is scheduled for Easter time each year.



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