‘It’s not a by­pass ...’

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - FRONT PAGE - JA­NINE WAT­SON Ja­nine.Wat­son@coff­s­coas­tad­vo­cate.com.au

IT’S a ring road, not a by­pass, says Jensen Close res­i­dent Sue Strodl and she urges the com­mu­nity to stand up for it­self.

Like many other res­i­dents in the area, she knew Coffs Har­bour was get­ting a by­pass.

“But what we didn’t know was that it was go­ing to be a ring road — we thought it would go around Coffs Har­bour,” she said.

“Peo­ple might then say ‘well you should have re­searched more’ but things have changed so much and plans haven’t been clear as shown by the re­cent plans with the tun­nels aban­doned.

“The RMS calls this a by­pass but it’s not. This is a ring road – a CBD by­pass at best – we’ve just moved the prob­lem else­where.”

She un­der­stands peo­ple are des­per­ate to get the high­way traf­fic out of town but this plan sim­ply doesn’t stack up.

“Peo­ple are cyn­i­cal and jaded and just want it done but this is a very dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion for Coffs Har­bour. My view is it would be ir­re­spon­si­ble not to re­visit the west­ern by­pass (or Coastal Ridge­way route) op­tion,” Ms Strodl said.

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with about 40 oth­ers she has formed the Coffs By­pass Ac­tion Group.

“I work in IT and have never done any ac­tivism and I don’t have any po­lit­i­cal al­le­giance,” she said.

“We are in a very unique pe­riod at the mo­ment with both mem­bers re­tir­ing and the op­po­si­tion are all ears, so peo­ple need to be think­ing about their po­lit­i­cal voice.

“We must be am­bi­tious with our vi­sion for the fu­ture; for a pros­per­ous and vi­brant com­mu­nity, a de­sir­able and unique place to live and visit. A ring road will have pro­found im­pacts on re­al­is­ing that vi­sion and if built, fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will scratch their heads in be­wil­der­ment and won­der why we al­lowed this beau­ti­ful town to be sab­o­taged by the short­sighted de­ci­sion to build a high­way through it.”

She fears ap­a­thy has set in as the plan­ning process drags on.

Just as Ms Strodl is urg­ing the com­mu­nity to “say no” to the cur­rent plans, Coffs Har­bour Coun­cil has also re­solved to “rebel” against state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments.

“This town has got to get off it's butt and it's got to stand up against this gov­ern­ment that is just hell bent on giv­ing us what would be an ab­so­lute dis­as­ter for this town,” Cr Keith Rhoades told a re­cent meet­ing.

“If peo­ple liv­ing in West Coffs want to sit on their hands and let the gov­ern­ment go ahead, all I can say is don't come back and say ‘why didn't we do some­thing?’”

Ms Strodl urges res­i­dents to at­tend the pub­lic meet­ing to­mor­row at 7pm at the PCYC at Bray St.

Photo: Trevor Veale

SAY NO: Sue Strodl says hav­ing a high­way run­ning through the val­ley with the as­so­ci­ated noise, pol­lu­tion and vis­ual im­pacts would be a dis­as­ter.

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