SIGNS FOR THE FUTURE: Time for planning is now
ROAD signs on the new Pacific Highway route will be crucial to the future of areas that will be bypassed.
They will help boost tourism numbers and the profile of places like Grafton, Maclean and Yamba.
Grafton faces a particular challenge. It may already be largely bypassed but the new route will be a further 15km away - presenting much more of a task when it comes to attracting passers-by.
Getting the signs right is important, but it is far from the only thing that needs to be done.
If a sign points the way to Grafton or Ulmarra or Maclean, or Yamba, so what?
There still has to be enough attraction to make people detour from their planned route.
And you can't just educate people about the local delights by putting a poster on a billboard they are likely to drive past at 110kmh.
The attractions to get people to visit need to be planned now; the education campaign that piques their interest needs to start very soon.
And there is no reason it should be left to the council, chambers of commerce or the tourism committee.
We need the whole valley to start thinking about ways to get visitors turning off the smooth new highway and spending more time in the Clarence Valley.
It's a challenge we should all be ready to accept.
COMMUNITIES have blamed inadequate signage on the Ewingsdale to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway for the loss of potential tourism dollars.
It is a mistake the Clarence Valley can't afford to make when the new highway route passes the region's major centres later this decade. Good signage and effective advertising campaigns will need to be in place by the time the highway opens in 2019.
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