Jetty Research polling Coffs Harbour residents shows locals wants tunnels built on the Coffs Bypass.
Jetty Research polling Coffs Harbour residents shows locals wants tunnels built on the Coffs Bypass. Contributed

Here's the proof Coffs wants bypass tunnels

COFFS Harbour City Council says a majority of people in the community want a bypass with tunnels, following the release of a survey of residents.

That's according to a survey that found more than two thirds (67 per cent) want them included to address environmental, noise and local heritage issues.

The results, from a poll of 400 residents by Jetty Research commissioned by Coffs Harbour City Council, also revealed very little community support for cuttings, with only six (6) per cent of residents opting for them to be solely used for the bypass.

Mayor Denise Knight said the research results should be enough for the NSW Government elected later this month to get moving on building the best bypass with tunnels as one of its first priorities.

Would you prefer to see tunnels or cuttings built along the Coffs Harbour Pacific Highway Bypass route?

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"We have Federal Government funds committed to a bypass and, through this survey, we now have a very clear view that the community wants tunnels, not cuttings," Cr Knight said

"With two thirds of those surveyed calling for tunnels, it's very clear that the majority of Coffs Harbour want tunnels and we'd like to see the newly-elected Government follow through on what is clearly the best option for our city.

 

Coffs Harbour City Council has run a campaign against the RMS concept design, fearful the State Government will renege on its commitment for tunnels.
Coffs Harbour City Council has run a campaign against the RMS concept design, fearful the State Government will renege on its commitment for tunnels. TREVOR VEALE

"For the benefit of the community, I call on all candidates and all parties in the upcoming State election to make a clear commitment for a bypass with tunnels - by that I mean a detailed outline of how they want the bypass to be constructed, when they plan to deliver a bypass and their definition of what constitutes a tunnel - and not just an acknowledgement for tunnels to be included, but with little further information."

The research found:

Tunnels vs Cuttings

  • Residents preferring three tunnels outweighed those preferring some or all cuttings by a ratio of three to one.
  • The overwhelming preference was a bypass consisting of three tunnels (55 per cent),
  • A further 12 per cent preferred a bypass of both tunnels and cuttings;
  • Six (6) per cent preferred only cuttings (no tunnels)
  • The remaining 26 percent had no preference, as long as the bypass was completed as quickly as possible.

 

Most important considerations for bypass development

  • The environment was the biggest concern, with 92 per cent of respondents ranking it as one of the top three issues;
  • This was closely followed by noise (67 per cent) and Aboriginal heritage (56 per cent).

 

Dangerous Goods and Tunnels

  • Almost three in five residents (58 per cent) would be happy for a small number of trucks to use the existing route to go through Coffs Harbour if it meant that tunnels were used for the bypass
  • Around one in five (21 per cent) preferred dangerous goods vehicles that were passing through Coffs did not travel through the city each day; and,
  • The remaining one in five (20 per cent) felt the Government should change the law to allow vehicles carrying dangerous goods to travel through tunnels.

 

"Council's prime concern with the bypass has always been around ensuring that the best bypass is built for the people of Coffs Harbour now and into the future," Cr Knight said.

"It is clear that this is justified, with the survey confirming the position we have taken in regards to the need for tunnels - and the majority of those surveyed supportive of us allocating a small amount of resources to get the best result.

"The construction of the Coffs Harbour bypass is the biggest issue facing us right now and we only get one go at it - so it's vital we get it right."

Cr Knight said Coffs Harbour City Council would share the research report with interested candidates for the seat of Coffs Harbour in the upcoming state election and the members of the State Government-appointed Community Consultative Committee, which is expected to meet next week.



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