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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Highway route makes no sense

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Re your article Highway detour a threat to koalas (Echonetdaily December 16), good luck on changing Sydney’s view.

For a decade it has been argued that this proposed route is perhaps the least sensible and most short-sighted. There are arguments against it, other than those regarding koalas, including that the proposed location for crossing the Richmond will do significant damage to critical fish nursery habitat for our north coast fisheries, which have already been severely compromised in this area through development.

The proposed area in the Blackwall Range is one of the last intact remnants of the Big Scrub forest, thought to be of such importance that three decades ago it was included in the list of important areas on the north coast that should be put on the World Heritage list, that same process that saw the Border Ranges, among others, listed. Unlike the other proposed listings, the listing of the Blackwall Range wasn’t opposed by the then local councils but by the state government.

By all reports the reservation through which the current highway runs originally included sufficient space to allow for the creation of a four-lane roadway. So quite apart from the expense of having to cut a swathe through a series of heavily timbered stone ridges, a mere kilometre or two from the proposed route there already exists a cleared, flat expanse running parallel that already has a major road on it to the same location, Ballina.

The most important question remains unanswered: why this way? It doesn’t seem to make any economic sense and will do the most environmental damage.

Serge Killingbeck, South Ballina

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