Coraki residents angry over committee sacking

After serving almost 32 years on the management committee that established and ran the Mid Richmond Retirement Village (MRRV) in Coraki, 76-year-old village resident Graham Smith has been told he and his 11 fellow committee members are no longer wanted.

Richmond Valley Council is replacing the community-based committee with a strategic planning and policy committee dominated by Council executives and councillors, angering MRRV residents who believe the original committee should stay.

With only two community representatives on the new committee, residents will be struggling to have their voice heard, Mr Smith said. Nobody wants this to go ahead. We have had a committee of 12 persons whove been very united, and we want the village to be controlled by the residents. Were not going to go away and lay down.

Cr Ray Jeffery said the original management committee had effectively been removed despite running the village competently since it opened in 1983.

Council has taken away a very dedicated committee its a real slap in the teeth for them, and theyre all very upset, he said.

Page MP Ian Causley joined the chorus of people criticising Richmond Valleys move, saying they should immediately hand back responsibility to the original committee.

The committee raised the funds and repaid loans to establish the home. Morally Richmond Valley Council has no claim to the beds and should hand them back to their rightful owner the community, he said. There have been substantial bequests from locals, particularly the Yabsley family. The only involvement of Council was to act as paymaster for which they received a handsome fee.

Richmond Valley Councils general manager, Brian Wilkinson, said the range of activities undertaken by the management committee had exceeded that authorised by the Local Government Act.

Aged care has become more complicated, Mr Wilkinson said. Council is the accredited and approved provider of aged care services at the village. Council has also indicated to the MRRV committee that it would consider any detailed information in relation to their proposal to operate the MRRV facility on a stand alone basis.

As The Echo went to press, members of the original MRRV committee and concerned Mid Richmond residents were meeting to discuss further action.

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