Casino mayor says no thanks
By MEGAN KINNINMENT
THANKS, but no thanks.
Richmond Valley mayor Charlie Cox has rejected Nationals MP Don Page's push to send the Pacific Highway inland in a bid to protect the region's coastline.
Mr Cox described the plan as a 'not in my backyard' ploy to protect wealthy coastal property owners at the expense of the west's farmers.
"People think the land out west is not prime agricultural land, but I would contest that," Mr Cox said.
"Just because there seems to be more space doesn't mean it is any less valuable than the coast."
The region's cattle farmers and soybean producers would pay the price for the inland route, Mr Cox said.
While Don Page and Lismore MP Thomas George will travel to Sydney next week to discuss their inland highway idea with NSW Minister for Roads, Joe Tripodi, Cr Cox has called for rail solutions to be the region's priority.
"Casino does have the potential to become a transport corridor, particularly through the Auslink agreement for freight rail," Mr Cox said.
"(Rail) would be the way to ease the congestion felt on the coast, but I feel the Pacific Highway is well positioned where it is."