WORRIED MAN: David Gibson of Lower Coldstream is concerned that long grass and narrow roads  will cause accidents on the road.
WORRIED MAN: David Gibson of Lower Coldstream is concerned that long grass and narrow roads will cause accidents on the road. Adam Hourigan

Overgrown country road in danger of slipping away

LOWER Coldstream farmer David Gibson is a worried and frustrated man.

For more than two years he has been battling the Clarence Valley Council to make the Lower Coldstream Rd, where it runs along the bank of Broadmouth Creek, safer to use.

He said the council needs to slash long grass between the road and the creek and to repair slumping in the creek bed, which at some points has brought the bank within a metre of the roadway.

"In some places the grass is obscuring the edge of the creek close to the road," he said. "Drivers can't see where the edge of the creek starts. They could pull over and find themselves down in the creek."

Mr Gibson said the tall grass also created blind corners on the narrow, winding back road which goes past his front door.

Since 2014 Mr Gibson has written to both the council and the Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis about the state of the road.

"The council sends me back these form letters which always end 'it's under review'," Mr Gibson said.

Mr Gibson said if the council is trying to save money by delaying work it could be a costly decision.

He pointed to a large gum tree near his house which was on a lean.

"If that tree falls into the river, the roots are going to rip up the road," he said. "All that section of road and the bank will have to be fixed up."

The council's director corporate governance and works, Troy Anderson, said the problems Mr Gibson brought up came down to resourcing.

"The council generally slashes road sides about twice a year and the Lower Coldstream area is scheduled to be slashed in about two weeks," he said.

"We recognise a lot of people would like this done more frequently, but we simply don't have the resources. After we've slashed this area we will inspect the road for other specific sight distance problems that might remain.

"In general along the riverbank side, where vision is not particularly an issue, we like to keep the grass longer to provide better ground cover and deter motorists from pulling over on the road verge.

Mr Anderson said the slumping creek bank may not be wholly a council issue.

"The riverbank is Crown Land up to the high tide mark. Council can apply to do work on riverbanks, but must obtain approvals to do so," he said.

"This would be an approval from NSW Fisheries and possibly an approval of Office of Environment and Heritage for working within 40 metres of a riverbank.

"It could also involve Crown Lands for working on the Crown Land portion of the riverbank. If roads were showing signs of distress (cracks in the road pavement and movement of the road surface) we would start actions to do some remedial works."

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