The Atherton Dr Key Stakeholder Group.
The Atherton Dr Key Stakeholder Group. Trevor Veale

Pressure on controversial masterplans ramps up

MORE THAN 100 Urunga residents turned up to a community consultation session to discuss the divisive draft Atherton Dr Precinct Master Plans.

Two of three draft masterplans put forward would see the closure of Atherton Dr - an iconic link road bordered by the Kalang River and the Urunga Golf and Sports Club.

The road provides motor access to a number of organisations and cabins, as well as the only launching place for watercrafts in the area, commonly referred to as 'the beach'.

Spokesman for the newly formed Atherton Drive Key Stakeholder Group, Derek Ridgley, said a completely new masterplan needs to be made with community input.

"I voiced on behalf of the ADKSG that all plans need to be thrown out, and we need to start again," he said.

"We need to start from scratch and include community-made plans. A local group of architects are very keen to make a plan.

"The plans put forward, made without any prior community consultation, are created by Bellinger Heads State Park Trust, which is now run by government employees, and Crown Lands in Taree."

The Bellinger State Park Trust commissioned GHD consultants to design a series of three masterplans for the Urunga foreshores.

Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, applauded the community in their efforts.

"It's really important that the community is coming up so strongly and letting Crown Lands know what they want and don't want," Ms Pavey said.

"It's clear nobody I've spoken to wants Atherton Dr closed."

The main priority of a number of Urunga residents, including the ADKSG, is to introduce erosion control of the Kalang River which borders the road.

"It's clear the community wants some solutions to the erosion of the river," Ms Pavey said.

"One of the ways we can help cover the costs of doing that is potentially leasing back the cabins along the river that don't have an active permissive occupancy.

"So the community has solutions to hep fund this work which I support. For too long the cabins have sat there rotting and I encourage Crown Lands to create a process to help that magnificent precinct reach it potential and this is a process we're all going through."

Urunga resident Bruce Miller, who runs the Atherton Dr campaign Facebook page, said support for keeping the street open during the consultation session on Tuesday night was almost unanimous.

"Finally we got the start of a consultation process that we should have had all along. Disturbingly it may be the end of the process as the consultant's report and finalising of the master plan is due in mid August," he wrote.

"This process must be extended to allow for more consideration of the points raised tonight. GHD said they will have to ask the Trust.

"We still don't know how decisions will be made or by who."

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