There are calls on government to consider upgrading Waterfall Way one of the region's most notorious stretches for motor vehicle crashes, road works, flood damage and landslips.
There are calls on government to consider upgrading Waterfall Way one of the region's most notorious stretches for motor vehicle crashes, road works, flood damage and landslips. FRANK REDWARD

The coast deserves an upgraded Waterfall Way

Letters to the Editor

TIME has come for the focus of the debate about trucks on the Waterfall Way to be turned from discriminatory attacks towards a local business that is providing jobs for plateau locals not derived from the government purse.

The aim of anyone who claims to be a friend of the Waterfall Way should be to encourage the government authorities to provide us with an arterial road linking the tablelands to the coast that complies with national standards.

With the traffic numbers on the Waterfall Way we should be provided with two lanes in each direction.

Not the goat track set up at the moment with give way signs on sections deemed too narrow.

The pavement should be of adequate width that trucks legally entitled to travel the road can do so without having to cross into oncoming traffic to negotiate bends.

For nearly 50 years I have travelled the Dorrigo Mountain and the only major works I can recall was the removal of a corner above North Arm Road in the 1970's.

A pathetic effort for the community in 40-plus years.

The Waterfall Way needs to be fixed properly with a by pass of Bellingen, complying width of pavement for the entire length and overtaking lanes.

Not the cosmetic work currently being done.

When this is done the true economic benefits will be appreciated by the community and numerous lives will be saved.

Stop the attacks against locals and focus on a real solution.

Chris Dunne, North Dorrigo

Behind Crystal Shower Falls, Dorrigo National Park.
Behind Crystal Shower Falls, Dorrigo National Park. Leigh Leigh

Theft of our natural heritage

JUST like many people who live in this local area I moved here 34 years ago to raise my children in a place where there are beautiful forests and beaches, a place where they could learn to appreciate and respect the natural environment.

I am both sad and angry that my children, now grown into adults, will be denied the same opportunity if the current NSW Government's plan to destroy our North Coast public forests goes ahead.

I was shocked to hear recently that they are now planning to open up areas of high conservation value old growth forests and rainforest areas, that have been conserved since the 1990s or longer, to unsustainable logging practices.

Earlier this year, the government started its draconian plan by making a new Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) whereby they promised unreasonable amounts of timber to the big corporations like Boral for the next 20 years or more.

Over the last 20 years they were unable to meet the quotas promised leaving our forests decimated and requiring the taxpayer to pay millions of dollars in compensation to Boral.

So how are they going to get the new quotas from these same stick forests you may ask?

The answer is to execute the next step in their plan and that is to change the logging rules, or dispose of rules altogether, to pave the way to get more timber, which they have now done.

The new "guidelines" take away even minimal protection of our native plants and animals, they won't even have to look for koalas.

They will reduce buffers on streams, particularly in the upper catchment, threatening the quality and quantity of our water supplies and change their soil assessment processes which will allow them to log steeper slopes and cause more pollution of our streams.

Clear felling practices will be allowed. This is not sustainable logging.

And finally this last step to open up the jewels of our public forests, that were scientifically selected 20 years ago for their environmental, biodiverse and heritage values, to log the large trees that have been conserved for the past 20 years and more. (Back in the early 1980's it was recognised that rainforests should not be logged.)

The agreement under the 1998 RFA was unable to be changed without parliamentary approval.

So how are they able to undo this?

The Natural Resources Commission carried out a remapping exercise for the government changing the way they assess those conserved areas by using different criteria and methodology.

This has resulted in 88% of HCV old growth and 62% of rainforest being opened up to unsustainable logging practices.

There goes our natural heritage and an economic future for this area using these biodiverse and unique forest ecosystems for tourism, medicines, jobs, supply of clean water to our towns, carbon sequestration and plant and animal habitat.

The Australian Senate has just launched an inquiry into Australia's unfolding extinction crisis with 2000 plants and animals at risk.

On top of all this will be the impacts from the very real threat of climate change.

And yes, this will be happening in our local area, right here in the forests of the Coffs, Bellingen and Nambucca areas.

These forests are truly special and unique, not just to Australia but to the entire world due to their Gondwana heritage, outstanding biodiversity and unique flora and fauna.

We must stand up for future generations and stop the Berejiklian Government before they carry out this ruthless theft of our priceless natural heritage. It is too late when it is all gone. 

Joy Van Son

  



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