Back to the drawing board

RETURNING to the negotiating table is the best way for Coffs Harbour City Council to fight for a better bypass of the city, according to deputy mayor Cr Ian Hogbin.

The council voted on Thursday night to express its strong dissatisfaction with the Roads and Traffic Authority's plan for the Pacific Highway announced last week.

It also emphasised its long-term support for a Far Western Bypass but resolved by six votes to one to attempt to negotiate with the RTA to improve the announced route.

Cr Hogbin highlighted the importance of further negotiation over the RTA's plans.

"We need to be at the table, we need to be negotiating, otherwise we're left out in the cold as we were when we were ejected from the Highway Steering Group," he said.

"It's important we get to the table, we stay at the table, and we push to get those trucks out of the city."

As part of its resolution, the council chose to formally object to the planning process; ask for immediate funding for the completion of Hogbin Drive and; encourage plans to attract heavy vehicles onto the New England Highway.

It also called for the abandonment of the IS1 option through the North Boambee Valley in favour of the more westerly IS2 and further negotiation on the property impacts of Option E at Woolgoolga.

The only dissenting voice was of the mayor, Cr Keith Rhoades, who said the council was choosing to negotiate too quickly and should allow more time for community discussion and to fight for the western bypass and for Option A at Woolgoolga. ? DAVID MOASE

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