Diary shuffling and 3D models latest in bypass battle
AS the old saying goes ‘good things come to those who wait’ so Coffs Harbour will be expecting the Rolls-Royce of all bypasses when it finally gets underway.
A stark reminder of just how long we have waited came from a reader this week who was doing some spring cleaning.
It was a front page from May 31, 1989 referring to an already ‘long-running debate’ over the bypass.
“I was going through some paperwork the other day and came across this.
“It is the front page of the Coffs Harbour Advocate on the day my eldest daughter was born,” wrote G Cochrane.
“She is now 31-years-old. Same debate same results. Nothing being done.”
Fast forward to 2019 and the community is awaiting the all-important Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project.
It was first anticipated for release at the end of last year but the new mid-2019 deadline has also come and gone.
The Advocate understands there’s currently some diary coordination going on in preparation for a joint announcement with representation from all levels of government.
The Coffs Harbour Bypass will be funded under an 80:20 split between the Federal and State governments.
Federal representation will most likely be from leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and the State Government represented by the new Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole.
State Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh says the EIS should be out within the next two weeks.
“It’s in the final stages of review and with such a significant and controversial project it’s important to get all the details right,” Mr Singh said.
“There’s also been some extra work on 3D modelling which is important so that everybody in the community can understand exactly how the bypass will look.”
The EIS should contain the design in full, with all the individual reports from noise and visual impacts through to Aboriginal cultural heritage and socio-economic impacts.
With both State and Federal Nationals MPs committing to tunnels in their run for election there are high hopes this will be reflected in the EIS.
The Coffs Bypass Action Group has warned these need to be clearly marked as proper bored tunnels like the St Helena tunnels near Byron Bay.
The group has also warned of the importance of ensuring the contract put out for tender is a ‘construct only’ which will prevent a builder from making changes to the design.