Given the attention afforded to revitalising Central Maitland in recent years, it’s little wonder that the community’s gaze is spreading from the city centre.
Former Maitland councillor Ray Fairweather.
Former Maitland councillor Ray Fairweather sparked some lively debate on social media recently when he floated the idea of sprucing up the river bank at Lorn for some form of community use.
In his post on the locally-renowned You Know You’re From Maitland When Facebook page, Mr Fairweather argued that the levee banks on the Lorn side of the river were wasted space.
In response, community members posted suggestions ranging from a water taxi service between Maitland, Morpeth and Paterson, to an off-leash exercise area for dogs or afacility for mobile homes or RVs.
“Judging from the responses on Facebook there are plenty of Maitland residents who feel the same way I do,” Mr Fairweather told the Mercury.
“I believe Maitland council has some section 94 funds in the bank that could be put to good use for fixing that side of the river.
“Yes it gets flooded at times, but it is safe guarded to some extent from damage due to flood waters hitting the south bank during floods.
“The Lorn side of the river has great exposure to the public from the walkway and would be an excellent location for picnics etc.
“Taree has a park on the Manning River with tables, seats that could be quickly removed when a flood threat looked like happening.”
The community response to Mr Fairweather’s Facebook post shows that people are interested in seeing continuing improvement of spaces and amenities in the region.
While there are some in the community who would disagree, Maitland City Council’s multi-million dollar revamp of the old Maitland Mall has –at this early stage –delivered positiveresults in terms of foot traffic.
With the second stage of work at The Levee at the top of council’s to do list, hopefully the community sees that positive impact amplified.
It shows the potential power of the “build it and they will come” adage.
A focus on making sure space on both sides of the river is used to its fullpotential can only be a good thing for this city.
If nothing else, at this stage, it’s a useful public conversation to have so the best idea can be chosen when the time is right.
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