Councillors? fury over village sale

By RACHEL SCOLLAY

THE RICHMOND Valley Council has copped criticism from its own councillors for considering the sale of a community retirement village in Coraki ? possibly netting up to $4 million. The council sparked outrage earlier this month after running advertisements calling for expressions of interest for 'lease, management or acquisition' of the Mid-Richmond Retirement Village in Coraki. "The community raised the funds to build it", Cr Ray Jeffery said. "It's immoral selling it from underneath them." Coraki councillor Norma Thomas said there was no logical reason to sell the 39bed facility, as it was financially self-sustaining. "It be- longs to the people," she said. "It was the people of Coraki who raised the money to build it. They borrowed money off the (former Woodburn Shire) council, but every penny of that has been paid back. It doesn't owe council anything." According to Graham Smith, who has been involved with the village for 30 years, aged care beds were worth around $40,000 each and by his calculations a sale could add $4 million to council coffers. He said there were concerns that whoever bought the village could then transfer the beds out of Coraki. He questioned whether the council had the legal right to sell the facility, which was built on crown land. Richmond Valley Council general manager Brian Wilkinson said they were looking at alternatives to ensure the retirement village had a future, but the council was not committed to any particular course of action. While the village was currently running at a surplus, that hadn't always been the case, and the situation could change in the future, he said. "We need to be more proactive to make sure the village can be sustainable in the future. Not just for the next few years." Expressions of interest close at 2pm today.



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