Mcintyres Lane protest is getting through

RESIDENTS and users of McIntyres Lane have won the first round of their battle to keep the road open to through traffic.

McIntyres Lane links the Pacific Highway near Shark Creek to areas of fast population growth at Gulmarrad and ultimately the Brooms Head Road.

On Tuesday, residents told a meeting of the Clarence Valley Council Civil and Corporate Committee, closing the road to through traffic would increase response times for emergency services, provide substantial logistical and safety issues for the sugar industry and close off an alternative route during times of Pacific Highway closures.

Resident David Jeffery said there were two ambulance officers living in the area, both of whom had on-call duties.

They had tested response times and found there was an eight-minute delay responding to incidents to the south on the Pacific Highway, a three- to four-minute delay to the north and a one- to two-minute delay to Maclean.

“The Gulmarrad Rural Fire Service has come up with similar times,” Mr Jeffery said.

“This (closure to through traffic) would have a devastating effect on people in the area.

“Residents are in favour of keeping it open.”

Clarence Canegrowers Association manager Pat Battersby told the meeting McIntyres Lane provided a very important link for the sugar industry.

It was important during the growing season and during harvesting, he said.

He said that if the lane was closed, tractors and other harvesting machinery would have to use the Pacific Highway to move between properties, and that raised safety issues.

After hearing the deputations, Councillor Karen Toms immediately moved against closing the road.

“We shouldn't close a road simply because we can't fix it properly,” she said.

If the recommendations from the committee are adopted, the council will wait until Sheehans Lane is sealed before preparing a report on maintenance, usage and funding options for an upgrade of McIntyres Lane.

Councillor Ian Tiley said it would be ideally suited to attract Federal Roads to Recovery funds.

Resident Valerie Gill said she was pleased with the committee's decision.

She said she had lived there for four years and had noticed a significant increase in traffic.

“We have been fighting for years for proper maintenance to be done,” she said.

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