Aerial view of Grafton at Jacaranda time - the Big River Sailing Club clubhouse. Photo JoJo Newby / The Daily Examiner
Aerial view of Grafton at Jacaranda time - the Big River Sailing Club clubhouse. Photo JoJo Newby / The Daily Examiner JoJo Newby

SET SAIL: New bridge forces sailing club move

THE construction of the new Grafton bridge will result in a local sporting club moving from premises it has occupied for more than 70 years.

The Clarence River Sailing Club, which operates from its sheds in Salty Seller Park in the shadow of the Grafton Bridge, has applied to Clarence Valley Council to move its operation downstream to Corcoran Park.

For the past 12 months, the club and council have been negotiating the move.

In a letter to the council in August last year, club secretary Robert Fish outlined the problems the construction of the new bridge posed for the club.

"During the site investigations for the new Grafton Bridge, the Clarence River Sailing Club formed the opinion that the impact of the new bridge on its sailing courses and activities would be severe if the additional crossing were to be constructed immediately adjacent to the existing bridge,” Mr Fish wrote. "Throughout community consultation and the planning approval process for the new bridge, the sailing club were assured that the new bridge and its construction would not adversely impact on CRSC activities.

"That is clearly not the case and the situation that has arisen is the main reason for the club undertaking investigations to move its operations.”

The secretary said it had been forced to delay the start of its season because a ski club also had a licence to share use of the river upstream of the bridge. It also lost a sailing day due to ski racing having an exclusive aquatic licence for the river between the existing bridge and Susan Island.

The club told the council the environmental impact statement for the new bridge did not include any solution to problems of river access and sailing courses it brought up with the bridge-builders, the RMS. The report to tomorrow's council corporate governance and works committee recommends council endorse the club's move to Corcoran Park.

It also recommends the completion of a masterplan for Corcoran Park, which is shared by the Clarence River Yacht Club, the Grafton Scouts and the Grafton Ski Club.