Geoff Helisma

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Over the past 15 years Geoff Helisma has reported on all things Clarence Valley; telling stories about the tireless work of volunteers in community groups at one end of the spectrum, to investigating relevant local, state and federal government issues at the other.

Harwood Marine pitches to enquiry

The Australian Government has “committed to a $195billion investment in Australian Defence” over a 10-year period – the NSW Government wants its fair share, and, in turn, Harwood Marine wants a share, too ... and a slice of the state’s $1.3billion enabling infrastructure funding. Harwood Marine’s managing director, Ross Roberts, and Clarence Valley Council’s environment, planning & community director, Des Schroder, made verbal submissions to the Standing Committee on State ...

The tourism committee that almost wasn’t

Clarence valley Council (CVC) has called for eight people – six current tourism operators and two with “wider tourism industry experience” – to become members of the council’s reconstituted tourism advisory committee. The former committee came to an end due to lack of interest and other undisclosed issues; the new one only made it to fruition on the casting vote of mayor Jim Simmons at the June 27 council meeting. At that meeting, councillors Simmons and Greg Clancy supported the ...

Get your tourism info here

With the staffing of the two visitor information centres (VIC) – at South Grafton and Ferry Park, Maclean – due to be replaced with digital tourism portals, how and where will tourists get their information once they are in the valley? In June this year, Clarence Valley Council (CVC) put it this way when it exhibited information on its “dispersed delivery of tourism services”: “...we [council staff] move around and make sure we’re in areas of high visitor traffic. “In other ...

Seeking a resolution to dredging conundrum

  At the hearing of the Standing Committee on State Development, held at Tweed Heads on Monday August 28, Clarence Valley Council’s (CVC) environment, planning & community director, Des Schroder, raised a question about the government’s lack of focus when it comes to dredging sections of the Clarence River in support of Yamba’s status as an international port – particularly where the river bends at Goodwood Island. “Who actually does it?” he said. Mr Schroder ...

Tiley elected to Armidale council

Former Maclean and Clarence Valley mayor, Dr Ian Tiley, was the first candidate elected to the Armidale Regional Council last Saturday September 9. Doctor Tiley served as the amalgamated council’s administrator prior to Saturday’s election. He said he would be nominating for the mayoral role. “The poll probably won’t be declared until Friday,” he said. “It’s set to go down to the wire on preferences. “It will be up to the other 10 councillors if they would like me to be ...

McLachlan Park upgrade underway

Clarence Valley Council has commenced construction works on the next stage of McLachlan Park’s redevelopment. On Sunday the camphor laurel trees, much loved by many in the community, were removed. In a letter in today’s Independent, the Greater Maclean Community Action Group’s secretary, Ian Saunders, lamented the trees’ demise: “For generations of residents and visitors [the camphor laurel trees] were the welcome to the town and the ‘signature’ of the town.” “The ...

Native title for ‘saltwater people’

In 2015, the Federal Court’s Justice Jayne Jagot described the length of time it took to rule on the Yaegl people’s successful 1996 land and river-based native title application as “shameful”; last Thursday August 31, her “frustration” over the exclusion of the seaward part of the Yaegl #2 claim (made in 2011) was appeased when she granted native title over “the intertidal zone and the seaward extent of Yaegl country”. “They are all proud Yaegl people,” she said, ...

CVC tourism: the digital paradigm

Last week’s Independent explored the savings Clarence Valley Council (CVC) expects to make as a result of dissolving the Clarence River Tourism Association and taking charge of delivering tourism services in the Clarence Valley. This week’s focus is on the management and marketing of tourism in the Clarence region. The council began reorganising its delivery of tourism services on July 1, 2014, the outcome of which aims to “fully integrate tourism and visitor services [into CVC’s ...

Do you remember when?

A reunion held in Yamba over the weekend of Friday 25 to Sunday August 27 exceeded the organisers’ expectations – 150 people who had spent time living and/or working in Papua New Guinea savoured old memories and made some new ones, too. “Friendships were rekindled and memories relived,” says Margaret Anderson. The reunion was largely held at the Pacific Hotel, where publican Jack McIntosh was reported to have said of the group, made up of 60 to 85 year olds: “By the looks of ...

Tourism initiative seeks participants

As part of its role as the primary provider of tourism services in the valley, Clarence Valley Council (CVC) has commenced an initiative of its Economic Development Unit (EDU), My Clarence Valley Business (MCVB), which invites businesses to take out a membership. “Basically, if you’re based in the Clarence Valley, and tourism impacts on your balance sheet, MCVB has got your back,” the marketing material states. “MCVB is the central destination marketing and local tourism organis...