Road to nowhere fear
By ADRIAN MILLER email@example.com
RESIDENTS of the James Creek, Gulmarrad and Taloumbi communities have called on the Clarence Valley Council to actively lobby the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) over the proposed route options for the upgrade of the Pacific Highway.
They believe council should act in the interests of the Clarence Valley community. More than 240 people attended a public meeting which was held at the Maclean Civic Hall yesterday.
At the meeting it was agreed unanimously that council needed to play a more active role in the selection of a route option, meeting organiser Bruce Walsh said.
"The meeting put a motion, which was passed unanimously, that the council, as the representative of Valley residents, actively works with the RTA to develop highway solutions which meet the needs of all residents of the Clarence Valley," he said.
Mr Walsh, a member of the Maclean community group, said one message of the meeting was reinforcing how important it was for people to make themselves heard.
"The theme is silence equals acceptance," he said.
"If people don't make submissions to the RTA then it may be taken as acceptance of the route options."
Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell, who addressed the meeting, called on the NSW Labor Government to extend the RTA's public consultation period for the options.
Mr Cansdell said the consultation period of less than a month was simply not good enough.
"The Labor Government has sat on its hands for years and now they are only allowing the community a few weeks of consultation from a very narrow range of options," he said.
"We have got to get the highway fixed, but we also have to get the right solution, and the RTA's poor consultation record demonstrates the need for very significant input from the communities of the Clarence Valley."
Mr Walsh said while the meeting also called on the council to push for an extension, residents still had to make submissions before the November 18 deadline.
"Residents can't put off responding," he said.