Highway options off track, say residents



RESIDENTS throughout the Clarence Valley have vowed to fight the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) over proposed routes for the upgrade of the Pacific Highway.

Community members from Gulmarrad in the north to Pillar Valley in the south have declared their unease with the four options and have called on all residents to make their feelings known.

Of the four highway route options released on Monday by the RTA, three pass close to Pillar Valley, while two skirt around Gulmarrad.

One Gulmarrad resident, who is helping to organise a community meeting about the proposed routes, said residents were worried about the options which would pass close to the town.

"Gulmarrad residents are concerned both 'red' and 'green' options will cause considerable noise and loss of amenities problems," she said.

"People bought out here way away from a highway and nothing in our wildest dreams could have prepared us for this.

"Before this last year there was nothing to indicate we'd ever end up with the possibility of a major motorway through here."

The resident said community members would fight to ensure the Gulmarrad, James Creek and Taloumbi areas were not blighted by a highway.

"We are organising action and we are definitely fighting it ? we don't want the red or green option through our area," she said.

"Just because it's going 100 metres past the house doesn't mean it's not going to affect us because we are so far away from main roads now."

She said a meeting for Gulmarrad, James Creek, Taloumbi and Palmers Channel residents to voice their concerns over the options would be held on November 6 at the Maclean Civic Hall from 4pm.

Tucabia/Pillar Valley community liaison group member Heidi Beynon said residents were angry with the four outcomes.

"We are not happy at all," she said.

"Everyone is upset about the four options because everyone living in the region will be affected.

"Pillar Valley residents are really frustrated because it seems we haven't been listened to throughout the whole consultation process."

Ms Beynon said a meeting to allow residents to voice their opinions would be held tomorrow night from 6.30 at the Pillar Valley Fire Shed.

Eric Maher, who runs a 714-hectare cattle and cane farm between Gulmarrad and Brooms Head, said the green and red options would have dire consequences on his livelihood.

"I've got 100 acres of cane and the green route goes right through it," he said.

"It's also going to ruin our property as far as a cattle property is concerned."

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