New Grafton bridge protest
A GROUP of 60 citizens who met in Grafton on Wednesday night has called on the RTA to suspend the current ‘rushed’ procedures in developing a route for an additional Grafton bridge and consider a wider study area.
Spokesman for the group, Bob Cairns who lives on Bacon Street, Grafton, said members of the local trucking community and Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson also attended the meeting.
Mr Cairns was addressing the first of two RTA-run Community Workshops yesterday on the proposed Grafton bridge crossings.
“The group supports the need for a new bridge in Grafton, but for an investment of this size and life, the RTA has failed to consult with the community in accordance with the Community Involvement and Communication Policy appearing on the RTA website,” Mr Cairns said.
“The supported location of the new bridge directs traffic onto an unclassified local road through the residential and commercial areas of Grafton with no thought for the future.
“Even though no funding has been announced or promised, public consultation on the proposed new routes C and D has been minimal and rushed.
“Residents of the area have not been consulted on the new route option nor has input been sought from Clarence Valley Council (according to Mayor Williamson), local trucking companies or businesses.
“The group asks the RTA to suspend the current rushed procedure and to recommence the route selection procedure to consider all options for a new crossing.
“Many of the previous options were eliminated due to noise, traffic, impacts on residential areas and business. The new proposed routes do just that.”
Mr Cairns said the group also felt the continuation of the workshop process prior to adequate public consultation would be counter productive.
Yesterday’s workshop at the Grafton Community Centre involved seven groups of about eight people focusing on the best possible corridor for a new bridge within the grey study area (the area immediately around the existing bridge).
Groups wrote their individual concerns on sticky notepads and these were sorted into traffic, property and environmental/social categories.
An RTA spokesman said all these items would be collated and inputted into the consultative process. Each group was then asked to focus concerns collectively and come up with suggestions within the confines of the study area before presenting ideas to the wider gathering.
Quite a few alterations to the current preliminary plans were made including several suggestions for the new road to ‘hug’ or follow the railway line in north Grafton.
About half of the gathering, by a show of hands, objected to the RTA’s limiting of the options to the grey study area and a similar number indicated they lived outside that area.