Valley watch on highway direction
By ADRIAN MILLER
WITH the Pacific Highway upgrade route options due to be released in a matter of months, the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) is being urged to consider the environmental ramifications of any preferred route.
After months of community consultations, meetings and submissions, community liaison group (CLG) members and Clarence Valley residents are hoping the RTA has taken into consideration their environmental concerns.
Maclean resident Louise Sheehan said the expansion of the study area to the east of Pine Brush Forest now meant it took in some of the most pristine and sensitive land in the Valley.
In a letter submitted to the RTA, Mrs Sheehan said there were many threatened species in the area being considered for the upgrade. She said wildlife should be protected.
Tucabia CLG member David Pinnells said a formal submission had been made to the RTA because the study area now ran through flood-prone land with poor soil conditions.
"The topography and drainage characteristics of the area will cause extensive pollution of the adjacent protected SEPP 14 wetlands," he said.
Mr Pinnells said a coastal range route option had been presented to the RTA which ran over less environmentally sensitive land.
Maclean CLG member Bruce Walsh said it was essential the Valley promoted a united front over upgrade options.
"As a valley we need to have a view about how this valley will be in the future. I'm strongly of the opinion Maclean shouldn't stand alone, or Tucabia or Grafton. We should all stand together."