FIRING BACK: Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson.
FIRING BACK: Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson. Adam Hourigan

Stinging attack on Williamson over Port meetings

THE man pushing a multi-billion dollar proposal to turn Yamba into a major freight port, that has been described as "pie in the sky", has launched stinging attack on Clarence Valley Council Mayor Richie Williamson.

Des Euen called the mayor "an out and out bloody liar" during a question and answer session at a forum held in Casino to outline his plans.

The claim referred to events that followed a meeting Mr Euen said occurred about two and a half years ago in which he said he showed Cr Williamson, the council's manager environment, planning and community Des Schroder and at least one other person plans for the proposal.

He said the response was, "Wow, we didn't think this project had got that far, this is really something.

"A couple of weeks later somebody gets a bit of a whiff that we've had a meeting and Richie Williamson comes out and denies he even met me. Never met me? Hello? I'm not in the habit of telling lies."

He went on to say:

"Well I tell you something. If Richie Williamson was here today I'd look him right in the eye and say, "You're an out and out bloody liar" because that's exactly what he is.

"If he's the person in charge of taking your region through to create socio-economic development and look after your well-being then you better think again."

Cr Williamson yesterday rejected Mr Euen's claim, saying he had not denied the meeting.

"I think I've met him a couple of times, once about 2011 and maybe another time," he said.

"Where he is taking a liberty is regarding a letter I wrote to him regarding a transport hub proposal linked to the upgrade of the Pacific Highway.

"The whole idea of turning Yamba into a major port is unrelated to the letter."

The letter, dated February 14, 2011, gave support for a "TransSeaPort Eastern Seaboard Integrated Sea-Land Proposal" and refers mainly to road transport, with one paragraph referring to the Port of Yamba.

Mr Euen said sometime after receiving the letter he received a call from Mr Schroder demanding he take it down from his website.

"Des Schroder rang me up and said, 'Now I want you to take that down. You take that letter down. You had no authorisation to put it on your website'," he said.

Mr Schroder said the phone call had not been to do with the letter, but rather the use of the Clarence Valley Council logo on the website.

"We had to ask him twice to take down our logo," he said.

Cr Williamson has also rejected a claim Mr Euen made in repsonse to a question at the forum regarding a Clarence Valley Council representative attending a meeting with other councils about the project.

"I don't think Mr Euen's proposal is realistic and it is hardly achieveable," the mayor said.

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