Tourism body backs down

THE Clarence River Tourism board has backed down from its plan to evict a pension arts and craft group from the Grafton Tourist Information Centre.

The board had ordered the Clocktower Gallery to pack up and leave the building by tomorrow, but a public outcry and the intervention of Mayor Richie Williamson, has given the pensioner group a lifeline.

Gallery president Bernie Kenny said the tourism board had extended the current arrangement until after Christmas, which gallery members welcomed.

"It basically will take us up until after Christmas," Mr Kenny said.

"Members have really welcomed it. One woman told me she would not know what to do if the gallery goes."

Mr Kenny put a lot of credit for the board's change of heart to the intervention of Cr Williamson.

"When Richie got involved there seemed to be a change of heart from them," he said.

"The story in The Daily Examiner also helped us a lot."

Clarence River Tourism manager Jenny Massie said the board had agreed yesterday to a request from the gallery for an extra three months stay.

She said the board was committed to selling local arts and crafts in the centre, but not in the same way as it was now.

"We need to get back to more emphasis on providing tourist information; that's what was behind it all," Ms Massie said.



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