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COFFS HARBOUR BYPASS – SELL-OUT OF THE CENTURY

I have watched the news conference in Coffs Harbour involving Mr McCormack, Mr Hartsuyker and Ms Pavey. (Source: ABC)

Comparison to West Connex. No. 

I am not proposing a toll road through Coffs Harbour. I was saying West Connex is mostly underground. Why do they get tunnels and we don’t? And the NSW Government just got $9.3 billion from the sale of 51 per cent of West Connex. The point I was making is: they’re not short of funds; if it is is good enough for Sydney, it should be good enough for us. Just do it right.

Two tunnels. Rubbish. 

Today we learned that they’re going from three tunnels to no tunnels. They claim there will be two tunnels (Ms Pavey: “there will be two tunnel arrangements with this design and one cutting“). Rubbish. Their map released today calls them “land bridges”, where they ‘cut and cover’ a hill who and replace a smaller part of the hill with a ‘land bridge’. Thousands of residents will suffer noise pollution. The decision to ‘cut and cover’ will have a significant impact on Aboriginal heritage, nature, wildlife and habitats. We should have three tunnels.

Reference:

Fewer tunnels because of dangerous goods? Rubbish.

The agreed PR spin today amongst the three National Party amigos today was – this is all about getting the trucks out of the main street of Coffs Harbour. Yes, that’s a good thing.  Their argument we can’t have tunnels because of dangerous goods is, again, rubbish.

There are several Pacific Highway tunnels already – at Byron, Chinderah and Gold Coast Airport. Only 0.001 per cent of vehicles would fall into the category of those that can’t use a tunnel. We’re talking maybe 30 vehicles out of 28,000 a day, or just over one an hour.

St Helena Tunnel (Byron) – 434 metres “All dangerous goods would pass through the St Helena tunnel on the upgraded highway, with the exception of Class 1 (explosive) and Class 2.1 (flammable gasses).” “Typically, the Pacific Highway carries about 14,000 vehicles per day in this area. 2,300  of these are heavy vehicles. There is the potential for 100 – 130 of these heavy vehicles to be dangerous goods.  It would be expected that between seven and 15 of these vehicles would not be permitted through the tunnel”. Source: RTA

And if this is true (about dangerous vehicles), why then were three tunnels permissible in the RMS plan in September 2016 but not now? What has changed between 2016 and 2018?

Gold Plated option? Rubbish. 

Melinda Pavey said we’re getting a “gold-plated option” and “I don’t want people to feel they have been compromised at all”. Rubbish. They have been compromised. This is the “El Cheapo” Bypass. This is a decision, if it comes to fruition, we will regret for a century.

Rather than “gold plated” it is more like ‘fools gold’ where thousands of people in Coffs Harbour will be compromised because they’re doing it on the cheap. The reality is, the money they’re likely to spend on noise mitigation through insulating houses from noise for about $50k each won’t be far off the cost of the tunnels.

And we’re probably talking about 1,000 houses (or $50 million worth) – that’s one thousand families that can’t have the doors and windows open enjoying fresh air because of noise. What impact will that have on housing prices? Will they be compensated?

This is the sell-out of the century.

Bottom line

The federal and state governments should send the Roads and Maritime Services back to the drawing board and come up with a better design with three tunnels for the $1.2 billion allocated.

I also urge the community to participate in the three information sessions planned by RMS. You need to be organised and make your opposition to their half-baked plan known and loudly.

Coffs Harbour deserves better.

MONDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER 2018


Resources – 2018 design

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Resources

News Release from just prior to the announcement


Updated: 24 September 2018