Local, Opinion/Comment

“Chamber on the wrong track about bypass” – Bypass Action Group

(In response to “Hype of the Bypass” Coffs Coast Advocate February 6th 2019)

Ordinary people often complain that the “big end of town” has no concern for them and we wonder if this is yet another example.

The Coffs Bypass Action Group (CBAG), is asking if the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce can truly be serious in preferring cuttings (similar to that pictured below) to tunnels for the sake of five to seven trucks a day!

“We’re gobsmacked.” Said Cheryl Cooper, Co-Communications Chair (CBAG). “The Chamber says removing these five to seven trucks will “invigorate and activate the CBD, making living in this city safer and healthier and to promote business and community opportunities”

“Yes read that again. It makes no sense. Add to that the almost 1000 residential properties, (and CBAG thinks that’s a conservative number based simply on the estimates of the RMS figures for the number of extra homes that will need remediation with cuttings), in Coffs Harbour that will be badly affected by cuttings as opposed to tunnels and it’s fairly clear whose side the Chamber is on.

“These five to seven vehicles will most likely be transiting the city during the night hours so it is difficult to fathom how they could have any detrimental impact on the plan to reinvigorate and activate the CBD.

The Chamber would no doubt be aware of the RMS figures that show that the daytime traffic through the CBD will not be greatly affected by the current bypass route as the majority is local. It will still be a major daytime traffic artery for local traffic. This will be the major obstacle that the Chamber will need to overcome, not these few additional trucks.

“All candidates at our recent State Candidates Forum supported allowing these extra vehicles to be directed through our town if it came to it. The local council supports it. Connell Wagner took the same position back in 2004 and 2008.The Chamber stands alone on this one.”

Brian Polack, Chair of CBAG added. “I think the Chamber should keep in mind how important a sense of community is to local businesses. When one group within the community is asked to bear a heap of pain for the benefit of the greater community, a strong resilient community rallies around and supports them. So if the rest of us have to deal with a

handful of dangerous goods trucks per day in order to allow a better bypass solution to be found then that is what we should do.

“If the Chamber of Commerce wants to do its part for the customers of its members then it could turn its attention to the RMS and lobby them to change their regulation on dangerous goods type 1 and type 2.1 being restricted in tunnels, as this is now the only thing stopping tunnels being the best option for all.

”As Nationals Candidate, Gurmesh Singh pointed out at our recent Forum, this issue with restrictions in tunnels is an issue across NSW and it would be good to have it removed.”

The above is a Press Release from the Coffs Bypass Action Group – 6 February 2019.   It is in response to a column in The Coffs Coast Advocate of that day written by the President of the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce Mr Martin Wells.

The original column by Mr Wells can be found here: https://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/the-hype-of-the-coffs-bypass/3641077/

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