Western bypass could be the road of the future
DISCUSSIONS at the bypass public meeting on Thursday evening soon turned to the possibility of revisiting the far western option but many cautioned against this approach.
Approximately 400 people attended the meeting at the PCYC on what was a cold rainy night.
As Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser pointed out, many were against the current 'coastal route' when it was first proposed and pushed for a route further west.
"The first thing I want to make clear is that back in 2004 people like Keith Rhoades and I fought for a western bypass. The majority of councillors rejected a coastal route so as far as I would say this current proposal is a ring road and not the far western bypass we wanted," he said.
"I objected but we're stuck with it and what we've got to do is get the best out of a bad decision."
Councillor and Greens candidate for Cowper Sally Townley also urged the community to make the most of the situation and focus on the issue of getting tunnels back on the agenda.
"The planning horizon for any major bypass takes many many years. This includes route investigation, selection, land acquisition, impact studies and planning approvals and much more," she said.
"The Coffs bypass has completed a large amount of work, and with improvement on the concept design, namely by including the tunnels, it can begin soon.
"As our population grows, we will likely need a new traffic solution within a generation. Let the western bypass be the road for the future and the inner bypass be the road for now."
Sue Strodl who lives in Jensen Close near the current route has also called for the western option to be reconsidered.
"Since that route was chosen we have grown by about 40 per cent and we're categorised as a city. We would be the only city between Sydney and Brisbane, and that's not including Newcastle, not to get a proper bypass.
"The location must be revisited."
By the end of the evening, a petition that called for tunnels instead of cuttings had been altered to include a call to revisit the western bypass.