OUR NEWEST INDUSTRIAL ESTATE?
By BELINDA SCOTT
'COFFS HARBOUR'S new de facto industrial area' was one Coffs Harbour angler's bitter description of the city's southern breakwall area yesterday.
But on Sunday, staff from firms across the city met at the deep sea fishing Club to celebrate the same thing with a beer and a barbecue.
Anglers fishing off the southern breakwater yesterday readily confirmed an earlier complaint that commercial activities and closed roads and footpaths in the area were causing resentment.
The men said commercial interests were being put before people and the area was becoming industrial by stealth.
Declining to put their names on the record on the basis that 'we're notorious enough already' the men said they fished regularly on the southern breakwall and had heard many complaints not only from anglers, but from dog walkers, cyclists, joggers, whale watchers and sightseers barred from driving and walking to the breakwater.
They said visitors resented being kept out of what was supposed to be a recreation area and people were annoyed they were not notified of the road closures.
Gunther Krivograd, who regularly walks his dog, Nelson, on the southern breakwater, said he had resented being turned back on the footpath by security staff, who had given no reason for stopping him, when he knew that he was 'not stupid' and could traverse the area safely.
But he said this had happened on only a couple of occasions and he supposed they had to 'take care of the lowest common denominator'.
The 'No go' bans are the result of two completely separate projects, repair of the groyne at the Coffs Harbour boat ramp, being carried out by Coffs Harbour City Council, and shipping of large pressure vessels, being carried out for Boambee-based engineering firm WE Smith Hudson.
Coffs Harbour City Council's works manager Allan Hindmarsh said work on the groyne had been left until after the school holidays and the road had to be closed during working hours, because a 200-tonne loader was crossing the road up to 200 times each day.
Mr Hindmarsh said work on the groyne would finish today. The last of five huge vessels to be shipped from WE Smith Hudson this month is currently on the southern breakwall.
WE Smith Hudson sales and marketing manager Paul McFarlane said barging was the only option for moving these large pieces of equipment, which would otherwise have to be built in the metropolitan area, a big loss for Coffs Harbour.
Bradshaw Ultra Heavy Haulage principal Norm Bradshaw, who had just paid a $4000 local motel bill for his staff, said he was a keen angler himself and the company had only blocked access to the area when they were loading equipment on to the barges, especially when the use of cables and winches meant that areas more than 30 metres wide had to be cleared for the safety of bystanders.