Artist impression of one possible land bridge option at Roberts Hill. This image is indicative only and subject to further refinement
Artist impression of one possible land bridge option at Roberts Hill. This image is indicative only and subject to further refinement RMS

Coffs 'deceived' into land bridges not tunnels

'SHOCKED, but not surprised' is how Greens candidate for Cowper Dr Sally Townley described her reaction to the Coffs Harbour bypass concept design plan.

Ahead of the first community consultation session at the Coffs Harbour Golf Club on Thursday, Dr Townley said she has feared for several months the RMS had already secretly committed to cuttings over tunnels.

"The public have been waiting for some time for noise reports, archaeological assessments, impact statements and other documents, which would normally be displayed, be available for comment, then inform the concept plan," Dr Townley said.

"Instead, the public is presented with a very short summary, not even a proper report.

 

Two land bridge options are proposed for the Coffs Harbour Bypass and one cutting.
Two land bridge options are proposed for the Coffs Harbour Bypass and one cutting. .

"I have suspected the worst for some time and my fears were confirmed yesterday.

"I am shocked the RMS is choosing a no-frills concept, which places construction simplicity ahead of the future of Coffs Harbour.

 

Greens candidate for Cowper Sally Townley.
Greens candidate for Cowper Sally Townley. Trevor Veale

Dr Townley said Coffs Harbour had been 'deceived' to accept land bridges instead of long tunnels.

"The implication that a 'land bridge' at Roberts Hill is appropriate for wildlife connectivity is a false statement and at odds with professional advice the RMS has received," she said.

Dr Townley says the argument about dangerous goods is also misleading and points to RMS's own information in relation to the 443m tunnel at St Helena near Byron Bay, where in a 2013 public meeting RMS estimated that seven to 15 vehicles per day would be excluded from that tunnel.

"We are talking about a tiny fraction of heavy vehicles, much less than 1%," she said.

 

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"Of course everyone wants the trucks out of town. With tunnels, we can get rid of thousands of trucks each day but still achieve a better outcome for thousands of residents of West Coffs.

"All of the information about dangerous goods, noise levels, design, wildlife impacts, Aboriginal heritage, noise mitigation to homes needs to be presented openly and honestly to the community.

"This is blatant deception and shows the total lack of regard that the present federal and state governments have to the people of Coffs Harbour.

"I will do everything in my power to seek full transparency and to achieve the best possible outcome for Coffs".



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