Clarence Valley’s most influential people #14-11
No. 14 Scott Lenton
If it wasn't for Scott Lenton, the Clarence would have more cane toads bouncing around backyards than there are Queensland rugby league fans.
The co-ordinator of the Clarence Valley Conservation in Action Landcare group is an advocate for sustainable living but also walks the talk.
He is responsible for driving the toad mustering program and a chief participant in the removal of tens of thousands of toads and tadpoles as well as millions and millions of eggs from Clarence waterways that would otherwise result in an amphibian apocalypse the likes of which we would never recover from.
Scott and his small band of helpers spend their Friday nights stalking wet and mushy toad hot spots all over the Lower Clarence to remove and dispose of these iconic pests and their offspring in a humane manner (the freezer, not via a driving iron), their hard slog and unrelenting dedication to the cause dramatically reducing the impact these unfortunate creatures have on the natural landscape.
Their work has been acknowledged nationally and with a handful of awards, but it's a job not many of us would want to do, especially on a Friday night, so kudos to Scott (and his team) for taking on such a massive task and continuing to do so in unwavering fashion.
If this has piqued your interest, Scott is always looking for new volunteers.
No. 13 Glen Scholes
GENERAL manager of Clarence Correctional Centre Glen Scholes' debut at No. 13 in The Daily Examiner Power 30, should be a harbinger of things to come.
His position effectively puts him in charge of the fourth largest community in the Valley and one of the biggest employers in the region.
A 30-year veteran of the NSW prison system, Glen's cross over into the private sector puts him in a unique position to manage the development of the new jail at Lavadia, south of Grafton.
And while Glen has a comprehensive knowledge of the public system, his ambition for the biggest jail in Australia is to make it the "jewel in the crown" of the prison system.
No. 12 #myclarencevalley
THE Clarence Valley Council's tourism platform My Clarence Valley and its hashtag of the same name has taken off since being introduced in 2014. The lynch pin of the council's rebranding of its tourism services, the concept conceived and driven by destination management officer Lou Gumb, it has taken the organisation into a new technological realm.
With a new website and active social media presence across the major platforms, #myclarencevalley has been embraced by the social media fraternity, the popular Instagram handle now has more than 8500 followers and there aren't many users who don't add the hashtag when sharing their images of the Clarence Valley.
My Clarence Valley also challenged local businesses to follow suit by providing a collaborative environment where operators could be inspired by workshops and guest speakers to help improve their social media presence and gear their thinking towards the age of the internet.
The tourism team have won many accolades over the past few years, most recently a bronze award for Destination Marketing at prestigious NSW Tourism Awards.
They have put the Clarence Valley on map, both literally and in the cyberspace.
11. Chris Gulaptis
ALTHOUGH slipping down the list in The Daily Examiner's Power 30 of most influential people Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis wields considerable influence.
In March Chris finally had the chance to take on the former holder of his State seat, Steve Cansdell, in the NSW election and came out a convincing winner with 64.5 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.
But he has not rested on his laurels and a few months later shocked the region with the announcement he had snared $4.6 million to improve the local greyhound racetrack.
In Yamba, the announcement of a multimillion-dollar TAFE Connected Learning Centre was a long-awaited and popular development.
Chris will also take pride in the coming months as massive infrastructure projects in his electorate: the new bridge, the highway upgrade and the Clarence Correctional Centre start to come online.