Korora residents fight to save footbridge
KORORA residents are banding together to save a vital footbridge that spans the Pacific Highway, claiming the RTA's proposal to remove the bridge will cut their community in half.
As part of the Coffs Harbour bypass concept design, the RTA is proposing the removal of Luke Bowen footbridge, the relocation of the bus interchange facility approximately 2kms south, and new local access roads.
While Korora residents pound the pavement for signatures to stop these changes, it's the pedestrian overpass that has galvanised the community.
Kororo Public School deputy principal David Dodd said the pedestrian overpass was highly utilised by the school and the community.
“Community groups use the footbridge to access our hall, we have sporting groups who go to Korora Basin to play squash and art groups who use the reserve, and of course children use it every day to get to and from school,” Mr Dodd said.
“So many things will be taken out of the equation if the footbridge goes.”
The footbridge was named after Luke Bowen, a Year 6 student at Kororo who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in 1997.
“It was a tragedy for the whole school and we do have a sentimental attachment to the overpass because of it.”
Mr Dodd said other plans proposed by the concept design, such as making the school lane a local road and the relocation of the bus interchange, would have a significant impact on the safety of school children.
But safety is not just the issue, with Coffs Harbour Squash Centre owner Peter Saxby one of many residents fearing changes to the Pacific Highway will be to the detriment of Korora.
“These proposals will herald major changes to the existing daily routine of Korora residents,” Mr Saxby said.
“Moving the bus shelter means a lot of people will have to drive further to make connections and access to Korora Basin will be restricted if proposals to close Old Coast Road go ahead.
“And removing the footbridge separates the western side of Korora from the eastern side - it cuts the community in half.”
A spokesperson for the RTA said 18 submissions have been received on the Coffs Harbour bypass concept plan, and residents have until this Friday to comment.
Korora resident Anne Kennett said the RTA may regret offering reply paid on the submissions, as she's collected 30 submissions in the last two days already.
Mrs Kennett said the primary concern for residents is isolation.
“Anyone on the western side who doesn't own a car will be isolated from the school, from the beach and from the community,” Mrs Kennett said.
“This is a serious oversight, as they've given us no indication of where an alternative pedestrian bridge will go.
“There is something like 30 families who walk their kids to school in Korora, and in a time when the government is trying to get us to use our cars less, that creates unnecessary car journeys for each and every family.”
Concerned residents can view the map of the proposed changes at the Squash Centre at 11 Korora Basin Road.