Council votes unanimously on McLachlan Park upgrade

THERE has not been much agreement over plans for McLachlan Park in Maclean. Up until now.

For the first time in the many years since council began planning an upgrade of the park, a vote on the issue at Tuesday's Clarence Valley Council meeting was unanimous.

It took an extensive motion from Cr Andrew Baker to turn a mundane report on progress, or lack of it, in park planning into that rarest of entities, into a unanimous resolution.

And it was done without reference to an architect, consultant or outside expert of any kind.

Cr Baker has criticised the council's plans for the park for being being too costly, taking too long and being out of step with the expectations of the community.

Cr Baker persuaded councillors to support a no-frills version of the park plan to be submitted for costing.

His plan includes removing the four camphor laurel trees and replacing them with four "super-advanced" trees of a suitable type for shading the park.

Among other things, it also includes scraping off 300mm of top soil in the park, demolishing the car park toilet and building new ones at the north end of the park near the rotunda.

Cr Baker's motion also included building a new boat mooring pontoon, or modifying the existing one, and narrowing the footpaths to increase the grassed area of the park and a simplified walkway along the river's edge.

When the Mayor called for debate on the motion there was none and the vote was unanimous for the motion.

"I believe that's the first time we've had a unanimous vote on McLachlan Park," the Mayor told the meeting.

Yesterday Cr Williamson said there had been extensive discussions at a councillors' workshop last week about opportunities for the park.

"It's clearly evident that councillors very much want to proceed with the upgrade of McLachlan Park," he said.

"We added that motion to the other plans that we have asked the general manager to have costed for the next meeting."

The mayor did not comment on Cr Baker's assertion previous plans were out of step with public opinion.

"Andrew's entitled to his opinions," he said. "Within budget we want to start work on a new-look Maclean waterfront that is the absolute best the council can provide."

Maclean councillor Jim Simmons said the removal of the trees was still contentious, although there was little doubt two had to go.

"The one at the southern end needs to go to rectify traffic issues and the second one, I think is the one that's condemned.

"Replacing them with well advanced trees will have its advantages, although I'm not sure all the costings will come out how he expects."

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