Mayor expects McLachlan Park makeover to start this year

THE controversy around the future McLachlan Park in Maclean is about to have a swift and exciting resolution, says Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson.

After a decade of debate and a succession of plans, the Mayor is adamant $1.3 million work on the redevelopment of the park will start this year and with any luck finish in 2015 as well.

While Cr Williamson is excited by the development, there is a section of the population opposed to one feature of the plan, the removal of four century-old camphor laurel trees in the park.

Only last week the defenders of the trees were outraged when Clarence Valley Council refused to debate a notice of motion on the matter, when a seconder could not be found.

A contingent of residents was at the meeting when the motion and the 1500 signatures on a petition against the removal of the trees came to nought.

Cr Williamson is not convinced the group of protesters reflects the view of the whole of Maclean, but didn't want to dwell on the negatives.

"It's going to happen and it will be a magnificent space," he said.

"From the draft plan we can see some exciting ways to use this space.

"At the car park end, terracing and three or four revetment walls create an amphitheatre ideal for a highland gathering celebration.

"And other work for the rest of the park will make it much more accessible to the general public."

There will also be new park infrastructure with a new and upgraded boat mooring, new toilets, seats and benches around the park to make it amenable to users.

Cr Williamson said the council still had to finalise the plans and then put forward a development application. "Council will consider the DA on its merits and then work will commence," he said.

The Mayor noted Maclean was due to see some development action this year in the government and private sectors.

"The $960,000 upgrade of Wherrett Park's lighting and drainage should start this year. In the private sector council has just approved a DA for a 22-unit structure in Maclean."