Showdown looms tonight over fate of aged village

By RACHEL SCOLLAY

A SHOWDOWN is brewing with the Richmond Valley Council over the fate of Coraki's Mid-Richmond Retirement Village, with lively debate expected at a public meeting tonight.

The council sparked vocal criticism last year when it signalled the possibility of selling the 39-bed accredited village, which was built on Crown land using money raised by the Coraki community. A sale is tipped to net the council up to $4 million.

After calling for expressions of interest to lease, buy or manage the village, the council has now narrowed the field to three possible candidates ? the village's current community-based committee of management, St Andrew's Village at Ballina, and Southern Cross Homes, a Sydney-based group which operates St Michael's in Casino.

The village's committee of management did not wish to speak to the media for fear of council reprisals, but will address tonight's meeting.

Meanwhile, Cr Ray Jeffery, who has slammed any possible sale of the village as 'immoral', said he did not believe any of the other candidates would do a better job.

"The retirement village pays the council between $135,000 to $150,000 a year for administration," he said.

"And they are still making a profit. So if they go it alone they can certainly employ a CEO to run the place, an ac- countant to do the wages and still have change from $150,000."

Richmond Valley mayor Charlie Cox, who plans to attend tonight's meeting, said the council had still not decided whether to proceed with any of the expressions of interest.

The meeting starts at 7.30pm in the Coraki Golf Course.



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