WHERE ARE WE: A protest sign in Pillar Valley angry at the RTA displaying the town 1.5km from where it actually sits.
WHERE ARE WE: A protest sign in Pillar Valley angry at the RTA displaying the town 1.5km from where it actually sits.

Fraser joins the fight

By ADRIAN MILLER

amiller@dailyexaminer.com.au

GRAFTON'S Market Square will come alive with the sights and sounds of placards and chants today, and Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser will be one of the loudest among the group.

Mr Fraser, who can attend the rally because he is currently suspended from parliament after his now infamous spat with NSW Roads Minister Joe Tripodi, will be in Grafton to lend his support to demonstrators protesting against the RTA's Pacific Highway route options.

Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell will also be at the rally.

Organised by Pillar Valley/Tucabia community group 'Not an Option', the rally will begin at noon at Market Square before making its way to the RTA offices where a petition will be presented calling for an extension to the submission deadline.

Mr Fraser said he would speak because of his experience in dealing with the RTA in the Coffs electorate.

"I've had six deviations organised by the RTA in my electorate and I find their process is extremely dishonest," he said.

"It really is a process I think is deplorable and something needs to be done about it."

Mr Fraser, who now enjoys culthero status since his run-in with Mr Tripodi, said he would bring a strong message to the people of the Clarence Valley.

"My message will be saying don't trust the RTA," he said.

"I'm there to say to people be very careful because the RTA is out to divide and conquer ? I've seen them do it on six occasions."

Rally organiser Phil Hazell said he, and many others, were also wary of the RTA.

"We're not happy that on their marketing material they put out they moved Pillar Valley one-anda-half kilometres from where it actually is," he said.

"Whether this is a deliberate misrepresentation or incompetence it doesn't really matter, the issue is still a serious one."

Clarence Valley Councillor Chris Gulaptis will also speak at the rally at which he will explain council's decision to hold an extraordinary meeting about the route options.

The meeting will be held on November 15 in council's Grafton chambers from 5.30pm.

"The purpose of the extraordinary meeting is to ensure that council fully recognise the concerns of the residents in relation to the options made available to us," he said.

Cr Gulaptis said he didn't want to preempt discussions at the meeting, but believed extending the RTA's deadline and the Summerland Way proposal would be on the agenda.



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