Surf club roof modification gets go-ahead

THE Maclean car park wasn't the only topic to be hotly debated at Clarence Valley Council's meeting this week.

The issue of Minnie Water-Wooli Surf Life Saving Club's clubhouse roof again caused lively debate, with councillors having to decide whether to approve the club's modified development application (DA).

The modified DA was passed with a majority of six-to-three.

As reported previously in The Daily Examiner, the surf club applied to council to allow for modification of the roof design from a 'wave' shape to a 'skillion' roof.

Surf club representatives claimed the change in design would allow them to save about $80,000 in materials and construction costs.

However, a number of Minnie Water residents, initially opposed to the construction of the building, said the wave roof was an important concession in the final agreement between surf club executives and residents.

Councillor Craig Howe said approving the modified DA would 'make a mockery' of the years of consultation between council, residents and the surf club which eventually saw the wave roof become the deal-clincher.

Another councillor not in favour of the change was Margaret McKenna.

She said the decision was about being 'consistent'.

“It (allowing the DA) makes a farce of the community consultation. A developer would never get away with it if this was a supermarket,” Cr McKenna said.

“We've invested many hours in the consultations, we've come to a conclusion and I think we should listen to the concerns of the residents.”

Councillor Karen Toms backed Crs Howe and McKenna by saying she had no doubt the wave roof was a crucial part of the deal.

“I spoke with Paul Vaessen (surf club secretary) yesterday at length and he said, quote: 'We would have agreed to anything at the time',” Cr Toms said.

“The community at Minnie Water believed they had an agreement. How are they going to believe us in future?”

However, a number of councillors felt differently and gave their reasons.

Cr Tiley reminded councillors the issue of the surf club had 'gone on for a very long time'.

“Flat or curved . . . flat's fine with me,” Cr Tiley said.

Councillor Jim Simmons said he would find it 'hard to justify' not supporting a change that saved $80,000.

Clarence Mayor Richie Williamson was another councillor to speak in defence of the modified DA.

“To me, community outcomes is what's important,” Cr Williamson said.

“There's a lot of chook raffles in $80,000 and a lot of lives that could be saved,” Cr Williamson said.

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