Urunga Community members fighting to save Foreshores
AN ICONIC Urunga link road which borders the pristine waters of the Kalang River is a popular site for many to take out a boat or just sit and enjoy the scenery, but proposed development plans could see the closure of Atherton Dr.
Atherton Dr links Bellingen St to Morgo St and is located next to Urunga Golf and Sports Club.
The road also happens to be the site of a number of organisations and dwellings which would be completely cut off from motor access if the proposed masterplans are put forward.
The Bellinger State Park Trust has commissioned GHD consultants to design a series of three masterplans for the Urunga foreshores, two of which sees Atherton Dr closed meaning "the beach", businesses and dwellings would only be accessible by foot.
The road provides vehicle access to what is referred to as the beach, which has been identified by a number of key stakeholders as the only launching area for water crafts in the area, bringing valuable tourism and other income to the shire.
Since the masterplans were unveiled, a number of key stakeholders have banded together in opposition, forming the Atherton Dr Key Stakeholder Group.
"GHD have left out some strategic public real estate in their masterplans," said the commodore of Urunga Sail Training Club, Derek Ridgley.
"They were developed without any real public consultations, and they failed to contact all stakeholders. Only very few of us received letters.
"Some of the stakeholders deal with people who have disabilities and there will be no access for them any more."
"There will be no possibility of towing boats and no possibility for any kind of recreational activity."
Key stakeholders include a number of clubs such as the Titivators, dwelling leaseholders, Urunga C.ex, Urunga Stadium, Urunga Anglers Club and more.
According to Mr Ridgley, the only option for community consultation has been an online comment facility that cannot be recognised as a formal submission platform.
The group have contacted both Crown Lands and the council and at this stage have received no response.
"Now the motorway has closed there's going to be a lot more pressure on this area, and before that pressure comes to bear we do need to put a plan in place, but it has to be an acceptable plan for the community," Mr Ridgley said.
"It must be our decisions, needs, and requirements that are listened to over and above the designs of outsiders being driven by distant government bureaucracy."
"Without access to these areas, all of our organisations will cease to exist."