CARL Scully is avoiding meeting Woolgoolga residents until after the Pacific Highway bypass route around the town is announced, says the chairman of the Woolgoolga Area Residents (WAR) group, Bruce Scanlon.
And Coffs Harbour City Council says time is running out on the Minister's promise that an announcement on the bypass would be made before Christmas.
Coffs Harbour City Council general manager Mark Ferguson said the council had been ignored by the RTA in trying to establish when a decision will be forthcoming.
The mayor of Coffs Harbour, Cr Keith Rhoades, said he had been writing letters to both Mr Scully and the chief executive of the RTA, asking for a decision to be made, because development control plans (DCPs) for both West Woolgoolga and West Coffs Harbour had been approved in recent months, but council could not approve any DAs until the routes were announced.
The chairman of WAR, Bruce Scanlon, said the residents' group had been trying to get in touch with the Minister ever since Mr Scully had come to Coffs Harbour for a trucking seminar several months ago, and had been trying to arrange an appointment with his personal assistant since October 13. Mr Scanlon said he had been told by phone three weeks ago that the Minister would have no time to meet them this year.
"It's quite obvious that the Minister does not want to meet with the representatives of the people of Woolgoolga to discuss bypass options around Woolgoolga," Mr Scanlon said.
He said he suspected the NSW
Government was planning to make the announcement during the busy pre-Christmas season, when people were distracted with other matters.
He said WAR wanted to talk to the Minister because members felt the Roads and Traffic Authority had not given Mr Scully the full facts of the situation and had been 'less than truthful' with some of the information used.
But a spokesman for Mr Scully said yesterday the Minister believed there had been ample opportunities for community com- ment since planning on the upgrade began in early 2001 and the route was about to be announced.
"The final route option, which is impending, will include consideration of the community views put forward on all options," the spokesman said.
Mr Ferguson said the Far Western Bypass was not under detailed consideration by the RTA.
"The two options are the two deviations around Coffs and Woopi ? they each identify minor variations to a routes which cir- cle the two towns," he said.