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Grafton News

Emergency call saves hotel from disaster

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The scene outside the Village Green Hotel, Grafton, early on Friday morning.
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Norco Agrisolutions

Emergency call saves hotel from disaster

By Tim Howard

A quick-thinking cleaner has saved an iconic Grafton watering hole from serious damage says Grafton Fire and Rescue captain Garry Reardon.
The cleaner at The Village Green Hotel was working early on Friday morning when he noticed smoke coming from the kitchen around 6am.
He opened the door but was left reeling when a column of smoked billowed from the room.
He called Triple-0 which alerted fire, police and ambulance services to attend the hotel.

Grafton Fire and Rescue personnel in breathing apparatus give the all clear to staff after removing the source of the emergency, a crate of smouldering cleaning cloths, from the building.

Grafton Fire and Rescue personnel in breathing apparatus give the all clear to staff after removing the source of the emergency, a crate of smouldering cleaning cloths, from the building.

The cleaner told emergency services he had dumped a load of washed cleaning cloths into a clothes dryer then put the hot, dried items into a milk crate on a bench.
Mr Reardon said it appeared there was enough oil still in the cloth for them to be combustible and they spontaneously ignited.
“It was really lucky the smoke was spotted early,” he said. “If they had been allowed to go another 20 or 30 minutes there would have been flames, which could have created a real problem.”
Mr Reardon said the hot material from the drier most likely created an exothermic reaction which allowed heat to build up until it reached ignition point.
“The presence of cooking oil in the cloth would only have accelerated this process,” he said.
A manager at the hotel, Mark Knott, was also at the scene.
He said there had been no fault with what the staff had done.
“We’ve been doing the same thing every day for 20 years and not had any problems,” he said.
“It’s something we’re going to look at and we’ll have to make some changes.”
Mr Reardon said it was a reminder to anyone that the rag you use to polish or clean something could retain some chemicals that make it potentially flammable.

Grafton Fire and Rescue personnel hose down the smouldering rags responsible for the call out.

Grafton Fire and Rescue personnel hose down the smouldering rags responsible for the call out.

“In this case the message to the staff is not to pile cleaning cloths together after taking them from the drier, but spread them out to let the heat escape,” he said.
Two Grafton Fire and Rescue trucks attended, plus ambulance and police.
Fireman carried the partially melted crate contained the still-smouldering material and played a hose on it for a few seconds.
There was no significant damage to the building and Mr Reardon told hotel management they could trade as normal.

Grafton News

City landmark falls to start $29.5 mil project

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Bathurst builder Hines Constructions won the contract for the $29.5 million build of the Regional Aquatic Facility.
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City landmark falls to start $29.5 mil project

 

By Tim Howard

A Grafton landmark has disappeared in the past week, but it’s proof that a much awaited facility is on target for a December 2024 opening.

The Grafton Memorial Pool waterslide which dominated the landscaping of the pool grounds for decades has come down and heavy machinery has begun tearing up the pool structures and surrounding ground to begin stage one of the $29.5 million project

The head contractor, Bathurst firm Hines Constructions Pty Ltd, has promised Clarence Valley Council it will complete stage 1 of the project, known as the Regional Aquatic Centre, by December 2024.

The first stage will include the indoor facility, which includes two 25 metre pools.

The 50m outdoor pool will be part of Stage 2 of the project

The start of construction will rule out any use of the Grafton Pool site over the summer.

Heavy machiney at work beginning to demolish the pools as part of stage 1 of the Regional Aquatic Project.

Heavy machiney at work beginning to demolish the pools as part of stage 1 of the Regional Aquatic Project.

In 2022-23, despite the closure of the pool, the water slide was opened at selected times.

The pool has a close connection to the Grafton community

It’s origins go back to December 11, 1943, when 13 Cub Scouts drowned in the Clarence River returning from a picnic on Susan Island.

Findings from the tragedy revealed most of the boys had not learned to swim and the community resolved to raise funds to build a pool so children could learn to swim at an early age.

The name Grafton Memorial Pool was a reference to the boys that died on that day almost 80 years ago.

After fundraising, construction of the pool began in 1954 and it opened in 1956, the year of the Melbourne Olympics.

In the pool’s first year of operation it was visited by a touring squad of Olympic swimmers which included Sport Australia Hall of Famer, Jon Henricks.

During the visit Henricks competed in the 50m freestyle at a club event which he won in 25.60 seconds before going on to Melbourne to become Australia’s first ever Olympic 100m freestyle champion and set a new world record.

Bathurst builder Hines Constructions won the contract for the $29.5 million build of the Regional Aquatic Facility.

Bathurst builder Hines Constructions won the contract for the $29.5 million build of the Regional Aquatic Facility.

Henricks’ record, which stood for 60 years as the fastest 50m in the Grafton Olympic Pool, was beaten in 2016 by local swimmer Charlie Steele in a time of 25.11 seconds.

Over the years the addition of the waterslide and diving pool turned the facility into a regional attraction which brought visitors to the city.

But the past decade revealed issues at the pool, which included a massive water leak.

It is believed the water escaping from the pool into the ground around it has created a sinkhole responsible for the structural instability which forced the council to close the pool ahead of the 2022-23 swimming season.

The council had developed a shovel-ready plan for the Regional Aquatic Centre, which has been used for the current project.

Future stages will include the 50m outdoor pool and two waterslide.

 

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Grafton News

POP-UP OPPORTUNITY

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Grafton Regional Gallery is seeking expressions of interest to operate a pop-up at the Gallery over summer.
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POP-UP OPPORTUNITY

 

Grafton Regional Gallery is seeking expressions of interest from cafés, coffee vendors, and retailers, who would like to operate a pop-up at the Gallery over summer.

Located in a vibrant regional art gallery precinct and surrounded by stunning heritage gardens, the gallery Café is an exciting opportunity to be part of a multifaceted facility which provides a cultural hub for the Clarence Valley community and visitors to the region.

Grafton Regional Gallery is seeking expressions of interest to operate a pop-up at the Gallery over summer.

Grafton Regional Gallery is seeking expressions of interest to operate a pop-up at the Gallery over summer.

The café has a fully operational commercial kitchen and servery, with access to indoor seating and two spacious outdoor areas – one in a garden setting, and the other on a deck within the Gallery precinct. Alongside this, historic Prentice House West has generous rooms available with potential for multipurpose commercial ventures including retail or dining.

Grafton Regional Gallery Director, Sarah Gurich, welcomes all ideas from vendors, ‘The Gallery precinct provides great opportunity for retailers to expand their commercial presence and work alongside the enthusiastic Gallery team to deliver experiences for locals and visitors alike.’

For expressions of interest, please email the Gallery at gallery@clarence.nsw.gov.au or call 02 6641 7300 for more information.

 

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Grafton News

Remembrance Day back to its best

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The contingent of veterans marches proudly from the parade ground at the conclusion of the 2023 Grafton Remembrance Day Service in Memorial Park on Saturday.
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Remembrance Day back to its best

 

By Tim Howard

Grafton’s Memorial Park was back to its beautiful if slightly remodelled best to commemorate Remembrance Day on Saturday.

The annual service on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month honours the hour hostilities ceased on the Western Front in 1918, ending the four years of carnage that was World War 1.

For more than two years, the park had been a construction site for the Grafton Waterfront Precinct, which opened in July.

The Grafton Show party lay their wreath on the Grafton Cenotaph during the Remembrance Day service in Memorial Park on Saturday.

The Grafton Show party lay their wreath on the Grafton Cenotaph during the Remembrance Day service in Memorial Park on Saturday.

While the park and cenotaph remained as the venue for the annual Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services, construction restricted the space for people to gather.

On Saturday the park was back to its best, with recent rain greening the grass and the sun shining.

Marquees had been erected to shelter people from the sun and a good crowd attended for the Remembrance Day service and the service soon after to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the construction and opening of the cenotaph.

Student leaders from Clarence Valley Anglican School carry a wreath to the Grafton Cenotaph during Saturday’s Remembrance Day Service.

Student leaders from Clarence Valley Anglican School carry a wreath to the Grafton Cenotaph during Saturday’s Remembrance Day Service.

Grafton RSL Sub-Branch secretary Denis Benfield, said it was good to have the park back at its best.

“The council did a great job for us during the construction stage,” he said.

“They were always able to get it ready for us for Anzac Days, Remembrance or Vietnam Veterans services, even when it didn’t look like it could be possible.

The contingent of veterans marches proudly from the parade ground at the conclusion of the 2023 Grafton Remembrance Day Service in Memorial Park on Saturday.

The contingent of veterans marches proudly from the parade ground at the conclusion of the 2023 Grafton Remembrance Day Service in Memorial Park on Saturday.

Mr Benfield said thank Grafton Midday Rotary for their generosity in providing marquees for the people who attended.

“With the sun coming out today it was good to have somewhere for people to be under cover because we had the two services today, one after the other,” he said.

 

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NGULINGAH LALC MEMBER’S MEETING

NGULINGAH LALC MEMBER’S MEETING

NGULINGAH LALC MEMBER’S MEETING

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