Local, Opinion/Comment

“Tunnels not trenches” – Bravo Coffs Councillors!

There have been times when Outlook has had reason to be critical of some of the actions of Coffs Harbour Councillors.  Not this time though. 

By the Editor

It is a bouquet we send in this column. Not a brickbat.

At the last Council meeting on 27 September Council voted to take a united stand against the Federal and State Governments and their recent highly contentious Coffs Harbour bypass proposition.

Reports have Councillor Keith Rhodes giving a fervent address to Council in support of an urgent motion that essentially called on the community and Council to agitate against both governments on this issue.

Mayor Knight and Councillors Rhodes and Townley all stridently spoke against the ‘trenches instead of tunnels’ approach of both Governments.  They rightly pointed out that this was not what was promised in the by-pass LEP in 2016.

All other Councillors supported this position. So does the Coffs Coast Outlook. It is great to see Councillors truly representing the community.

In coming days Outlook will present evidence that the proposed changes announced by both governments in late September show that in places the new changes will leave gaping wounds in the hills around West Coffs Harbour of up to 380 meters across in places. In other places there will be trenches 263 meters wide (pictured left).

What does this mean?  It shows they are proposing to take 120m extra land outside of the original Local Environment Plan (LEP) for the by-pass as presented in 2016 when three proper tunnels were promised. They are doing this, as we will show in coming days, because this indicates they originally intended Tunnels because the land they asked to be set aside is nowhere wide enough for what is now being proposed.

The talk from both governments about the by-pass being the most expensive per kilometer ever and about dangerous goods trucks being the reason for not having tunnels also don’t ‘stack up’ as we shall show.

They have taken a quarry approach. Not an engineering and environmental approach

Mayor Knight said in her speech to Council in support of the motion that “the community really needs to form together and say, no, not good enough.  We are not second rate. We deserve better.”

The Coffs Coast Outlook agrees wholeheartedly.

Call to action: With that in mind we urge all readers, their family, friends and neighbours to attend the special meeting called by former Deputy Mayor Rod McKelvey on Thursday 11 October at the PCYC in Bray Street at 6.45 p.m. for 7.00 p.m.

Tell the federal and state governments we don’t want our western ridges scarred and our wildlife corridors damaged for ever. The proposed routes are also destroy areas of cultural significance to the Gumbayngir people.

Remind both governments that State and Federal elections are just around the corner and this issue may just be a vote changer for you.

Tell them it is ‘Tunnels Not Trenches.’



  1. Ennio Bardella

    Thanks for this article, great to see the community uniting behind this urgent cause.
    The currently proposed route of the Coffs Harbour bypass is best described as a ringroad encircling the city’s residential areas and precluding any future housing development and growth not to mention the noise and air pollution for thousands of nearby residents. The announcement/ambush by the state and federal governments that the new proposal is to have no tunnels but massive earth cuttings along with the realignment of the highway higher up the hillside to allow for this is sheer madness. It will consign Coffs Harbour to a highway reflecting its perpetual noise through its midst forever. If there is any compromise to be made it is by building tunnels as originally planned and keeping the highway behind earth banks where possible. Lets all get behind this cause and ensure a better outcome for our city.

  2. Thanks Ennio – I think your terms ‘ambush’ ‘ringroad’ and ‘sheer madness’ have ‘nailed it’. Couldn’t agree more.

    Make sure to herd a crowd down to the meeting on 11 October.

    Grant – The Editor.

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