Give me lights

WILL it be lights, camera, action at the Big Banana?

Roads and Traffic Authority officers held an on-site meeting yesterday to talk about the issue of access to the popular tourist attraction, which has plans for developing a major water park.

One of the owners of the Big Banana, Kevin Rubie said he had been talking to the RTA about the access problem for 12 years, but the matter had come to a head with the development plans.

"If we can't solve the problem it's pointless building," Mr Rubie said.

"There's no good spending millions on something if people can't get in and out safely."

He said he had taken over the attraction in 1993 just as the present entry roadwork was completed, which he said he would have never approved.

Initially opposed to traffic lights out the front of the Big Banana, he said he had become convinced that lights controlling the intersections servicing the Big Banana, Island View Close, the Country Motel and Diggers Beach Road were the best solution.

He said RTA officers had drawn up a technical set of plans for the lights, which would also provide a safe pedestrian pathway from the Plaza to the caravan park.

Mr Rubie went public with his concerns earlier this week, saying people were reporting waiting up to 25 minutes to leave the Big Banana and travel south during the school holidays.

He said these experiences would put visitors off returning to the fun park, which was an important tourist attraction for the city.

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser, who attended yesterday's meeting and has previously objected to the idea of traffic lights at the site, said while he appreciated Mr Rubie's access problems, he had suggested some alternatives to the RTA.

He said a better option would be the closure of the Diggers Beach Road/Pacific Highway intersection; the creation of a single exit to the highway from Island View Close, the Country Comfort Motel and the Big Banana and using the freed-up space to provide extended north and south slip lanes.

To create an alternate route into town from Diggers Beach, he has suggested opening a road between the end of Richanond Drive and York Street to take traffic into Hogbin Drive North and Arthur Street.

"The RTA officers assured me they would go away and look at it and that there would be community consultation," he said.

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