By­pass meet­ing packed

Cut­tings would be ‘hideous’

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - FRONT PAGE - JA­NINE WAT­SON Ja­nine.Wat­son@coff­s­coas­tad­vo­

HUN­DREDS of peo­ple packed the PCYC on Thurs­day evening to voice their re­sound­ing op­po­si­tion to the pro­posed Coffs Har­bour by­pass.

Among the crowd were State and Fed­eral MPs An­drew Fraser and Luke Hart­suyker with NSW Roads Min­is­ter Melinda Pavey an apol­ogy.

The ma­jor­ity of Coffs Har­bour coun­cil­lors were also there, along with can­di­dates in the up­com­ing State and Fed­eral elec­tions.

One of the main or­gan­is­ers of the of­ten fiery meet­ing, Rod McKelvey, warned peo­ple at the out­set to “keep per­son­al­i­ties and pol­i­tics out of it”.

He spoke of the need for the com­mu­nity to get the in­for­ma­tion they need to be able to pro­vide ap­pro­pri­ate feed­back on the cur­rent con­cept plan.

“We have been told the EIS (En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact State­ment) would be ready by Christ­mas so that means they would have all of those re­ports com­pleted on noise, en­vi­ron­ment, cul­tural her­itage and so on. Where are those re­ports? We need to see these re­ports so we can make an in­formed de­ci­sion.”

One of the first speak­ers was Nathan Bren­nan, CEO of the Coffs Har­bour and Dis­trict Lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal Land Coun­cil, who spoke of the cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance of the area to the west of the city where large cut­tings (es­ti­mated to be 75m deep and 380 me­tres wide in some spots) are now pro­posed.

“These cut­tings will have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the Gum­bayn­g­girr sto­ries that come over the ridge line. We still prac­tice these sto­ries and they are part of our iden­tity. We’ve al­ready lost so much of this and it can’t just be on the Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity to pro­tect it,” he said.

“We don’t want to be in the way of progress but we want to pro­tect our cul­ture and her­itage.”

Speak­ers touched on the im­pact these cut­tings would have on the koala pop­u­la­tion, with the crowd erupt­ing in ap­plause as Mr McKelvey stated: “There is a good chance they will be­come ex­tinct in our life­time. I don’t want to be part of a town that wipes out a koala pop­u­la­tion.”

“These cut­tings would be hideous and we de­serve bet­ter,” he said.

Photo: Ja­nine Wat­son

CUT OUT: Hun­dreds at the meet­ing with RMS re­gional man­ager John Alexan­der, Mem­ber for Coffs Har­bour An­drew Fraser and Mem­ber for Cow­per Luke Hart­suyker in the fore­ground.

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