Devastation at Warrell Creek

ROSE Seymour couldn't believe her eyes.

The letter she received from the RTA two weeks ago was telling her that her home was potentially in the pathway of the Macksville-Urunga Pacific Highway upgrade ? just as it had been in 1989!

"Fifteen years ago, our home was resumed by the RTA for the highway upgrade at Warrell Creek," Mrs Seymour said.

"That route ran straight through our home and (relocating) was devastating for our family.

"We specifically relocated to this position (Upper Warrell Creek), so we would not find ourselves in the situation again."

She said the previous experience had caused them financial difficulty and the threat of going through it all again was very stressful.

Mrs Seymour is one of many residents who have been caught off-guard with the latest release of the Macksville-Urunga Pacific Highway Route Upgrade options.

According to Congarinni resident, Brenda Neave, the main problem with the sug- gested western option is that people had thought the eastern route had been decided and they felt safe.

"The RTA had already been acquiring houses for the eastern option and there was a feeling of security here," Ms Neave said.

The 25-kilometre-long western option would bypass Macksville, Bellwood and Nambucca Heads completely, rejoining the old highway west of Nambucca Heads.

While no detailed studies of this option have been undertaken yet, the residents are taking it very seriously and have already had one meeting.

More than 70 people attended.

Ms Neave said the mood was very emotional.

"People were sad and upset and it is affecting the health of some of the older residents," she said.

The lobby group are presently gathering facts to put their case to the RTA, but even that is problematic.

"The submissions are due on February 2 and we only got our letters two weeks ago.

"It's a big ask with Christmas between ? we feel it's a rough deal."

Another point the residents will be raising is with the route bypassing so many of the shire towns, employment and tourism will be negatively impacted.

"The entire socio-economic development of the area is threatened," Ms Neave said.

One resident, Barry Kerr, wrote to the Nambucca Guardian News last week, saying the western bypass was 'the bright idea of the Macksville Chamber of Commerce and had the support of the council'.

Chamber president, Mike Moran, said the chamber had been approached by people affected by the eastern option.

"So we brought it up as a matter of democracy," Mr Moran said.

Meetings for residents concerned about the western option are being held on Saturday December 18 at the Fire Shed, corner of Newee Creek and Wirrimbi roads and on Monday, December 20, at the Warrell Creek Hall.

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