The minister for the north coast, Ballina MP Don Page, has defended the decision to open Bangalow to the new Pacific Highway in a southerly direction, saying that it is what the townspeople want.
Mr Page told Echonetdaily on Friday that of the 298 submissions [received by Roads and Maritime Services], 184 wanted direct access to the new highway upgrade from Bangalow.
He added that plans to create a tourist route along the old Pacific Highway were still in place as well as signage for the Macadamia Castle at Knockrow, which will be bypassed by the new highway.
‘In relation to the Macadamia Castle, there will be signage at the Ross Lane intersection and at the Bangalow interchange that will identify a tourist route (possibly to be called the Hinterland Way) so motorists and tourists can take an alternative to the upgraded dual carriageway,’ he said.
‘I will endeavour to ensure appropriate signage for the Macadamia Castle is put in place to coincide with the opening of the new road’, he added.
‘I will take up the issue of noise protection for people and the animals at the Macadamia Castle with the RMS.’
Last week the owner of the family tourist attraction told Echonetdaily that RMS plans would kill it off along with some 50 local jobs that the business generates. He added that the noise from the new highway, which will run along the back of his property, would create a noise and traffic hazard for its native animal collection.
Mr Page also defended the process of reinstating the southerly access point to the highway from Bangalow.
‘After the community meeting in Bangalow last year, a working party was formed to consider alternative options to the proposed Bangalow interchange. The working party consisted of three RMS representatives and three community representatives.
‘After community consultation and 298 submissions, a refined concept for a Bangalow interchange was chosen, which will remove the existing bridges and install a roundabout at the level of Bangalow Road reducing the amount of impact (noise, lighting, etc) on the Bangalow community from the highway.’