‘It’s not a bypass ...’
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.
SAY NO: Sue Strodl says having a highway running through the valley with the associated noise, pollution and visual impacts would be a disaster.