Coraki fears for home in wake of council ad

GRAHAM SMITH is outraged that Richmond Valley Council is considering selling off a retirement village in Coraki that was built with community money. Mr Smith, a volunteer on the management board of the Mid-Richmond Retirement Village for 30 years, said that the whole community was 'alarmed' and 'fearful' after a council ad appeared in The Northern Star, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Courier Mail calling for expressions of interest for 'lease, management or acquisition' of the village. Mr Smith said the retirement village was entirely self-sustaining and cost the council nothing, and he questioned whether the council had the legal right to sell it. "They certainly don't have the moral right," he said. The retirement village was built on crown land after the community fundraised $130,000 over nine years to fund it, he said. "At that time it was a more significant amount of money than it is today, and it was raised from a very economically disadvantaged community." Mr Smith said since becoming operational in 1983, the 39-bed facility had also benefitted from community donations and bequests totalling $500,000. Mr Smith said the community would 'never have put in that kind of money' if it had imagined the retirement village would ever be sold. Richmond Valley Council general manager Brian Wilkinson said they were exploring options to enable the village to continue operating in years to come and the council had reserved the right not to proceed with any of the expressions of interest it received.

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