Wednesday, December 2 was a landmark day for the Lower Clarence, with Page MP Janelle Saffin delivering one of her major election commitments – a $4.14 million indoor sports centre for Yamba – and being pivotal in two other community infrastructure projects in Yamba and Maclean.
Despite having to remain in Canberra for extended sittings of Federal Parliament, Ms Saffin welcomed today’s gala lunchtime opening of the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre at Ngayundi Yamba Sports Complex off Angourie Road.
Ms Saffin was represented by her policy adviser, Peter Ellem, at this morning’s opening of ‘The Old Kirk’, a former Scottish Presbyterian Church which has been relocated from Yamba’s CBD to the Yamba Museum in River Street, and this afternoon’s opening of Lower Clarence Aboriginal Women’s Resource Centre in Maclean’s Hillcrest community.
Ms Saffin said she had successfully lobbied Clarence Valley Council to fund both projects from its $1.4 million allocation under Round One of the Federal Government’s Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program.
“Clarence Valley Council’s art gallery director Jude McBean and the Port of Yamba Historical Society have jointly managed the $140,000 Old Kirk project, which involved relocating and restoring the historic church as a much-needed temporary exhibition, meeting and function space,” she said.
“I also recognise the generosity of Dougherty Brothers, who bought the church in 1998, donated it to the Historical Society in 1999, and paid for the costs of moving the building to its new site. Local builder Paul Commerford and his sub-contractors have done a wonderful job.”
The Old Kirk connects seamlessly with the museum, which now has a mains sewer connection, a disability access ramp and storeroom.
Ms Saffin paid special tribute to Glenda MacPhail, Chair of Nungera Co-operative and member of Local Yaegl Women’s Group (Milgirr Ungwiirri), who has been the driving force behind the Lower Clarence Aboriginal Women’s Resource Centre at Hillcrest.
“Glenda actually grew up in this heritage-listed cottage, which council has renovated and air-conditioned to give local Indigenous women and children access to mainstream government and non-government service providers,” she said.
“I know Glenda has had fantastic support from Susan Howland, council’s community development officer and founding member of Clarence Valley Women Incorporated. Local builder Graham Mills, electrician John Cashman and painter Reg Randall worked on the $100,000 renovation.”
PICTURES: Local children take to the court for a game of handball; a cake was made to mark the opening; Michael Laurie, son of Raymond Laurie, speaks on behalf of the family.