Members of Gasfield Free Northern Rivers say they are not fazed by calls from Richmond Valley Council (RVC) for them not to block roads during Metgasco’s planned gas testing at Bentley next month.
Council’s general manager John Walker said RVC had put together a comprehensive traffic management plan for the two-to-four weeks of preparation and expected six weeks of drilling the company will require.
‘From a community point of view we are really concerned that the protesters will ignore all of the warnings and all of the safety advice and invade the road with vehicles or their own bodies, and that could well block traffic and disrupt traffic entirely,’ Mr Walker told ABC radio this morning.
But Gasfield Free Northern Rivers spokesperson Adam Guise told Echonetdaily it was Metgasco’s vehicles that would be causing danger on the roads, not protesters.
‘We’ve got a good working relationship with Richmond Valley Council: we submitted a primitive camping application, which has been approved, and we are working with council to ensure road safety and uphold people’s right to peaceful protest,’ he said this morning.
‘Numerous members of the community have made representations to council to make sure they put in place adequate road management so Metgasco’s numerous truck movements do not jeopardise the safety of northern rivers residents,’ he added.
Mr Guise said it was the gas company, not Gasfield Free protesters, who were potentially causing havoc on the area’s roads.
‘The real issue is that Metgasco is drilling at the top of a crest and they will be bringing in numerous trucks and rigs that will pose a significant safety threat. Anyone else would be required to put in a third turning lane at that point,’ he said.