17.6 C
Byron Shire
May 18, 2022

Ballina backs heavier sugar trucks despite road concerns

Latest News

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 18 May, 2022

Brilliant entertainment always in the Byron Shire

Other News

‘Unprecedented’ but not unpredicted – we are now suffering from our failure to listen to scientists’ predictions of the impacts of climate change 30...

As Australians head into another election season just as many parts of the east coast are recovering from ‘unprecedented’ flooding since February, and the national psyche is still reeling from the trauma of the ‘unprecedented’ Black Summer bushfires before that, it is critical now more than ever to vote according to your environmental conscience and fear for the future.

Lennox Longboard ‘One Dayer’ going ahead

The organisers of the 2022 Rip Curl Lennox Longboard 'One Dayer' are hoping it will be third time lucky after their event was postponed due to COVID and then catastrophic flooding. The event is now scheduled for this Sunday, 15 May.

Farm tours, tastings and horse riding – confusion over State agritourism SEPP

A lengthy debate took place at the last Tweed Shire Council planning meeting (5 May) around the issue of...

Interviews with Richmond candidates 2022: Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, Rob Marks

Rob Marks lives in the Tweed Shire, owns a small business and is running on Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party ticket for the federal seat of Richmond.

Temporary accommodation sites for flood-affected communities

The New South Wales Government has this just announced nine temporary accommodation sites across the Northern Rivers region to house flood-affected residents, with more to come.

All smiles at Ballina pre-poll

People were queued out the door at the pre-poll booth in Ballina Indoor Sports Centre yesterday, with brightly dressed volunteers and AEC officials offering assistance to voters.

Ballina Shire Council has backed the use of heavier sugar trucks despite concerns about their effect on local roads. Photo ecovia.org
Ballina Shire Council has backed the use of heavier sugar trucks despite concerns about their effect on local roads. Photo ecovia.org

By Darren Coyne

The Ballina shire council has backed a scheme that would allow trucks carrying sugar to carry heavier loads despite concerns that local roads could deteriorate more rapidly.

NSW Sugar had approached the NSW Department of Transport asking for a mass concession scheme to assist in managing transport during the harvest scheme.

The Department and Roads and Maritime Services have proposed a Sugar Cane Harvest Management Scheme (SCHMS).

But the scheme requires approvals from local councils because the heavy trucks require permits to use local roads.

NSW Sugar is a grower owned cooperative with around 500 grower members operating sugar mills located in Broadwater, Condong and Hardwood.

The cooperative employs 400 people directly and 250 additional seasonal employees during harvest.

The industry accounts for $230 million of regional economic output.

According to the staff report, Byron Shire Council plans not to accept the scheme, Clarence Valley Council will also not accept the scheme, and Lismore City Council and Tweed Shire Council are still considering the request.

Prior to yesterday’s decision, only Richmond Valley Council had indicated that they would accept the scheme.

Under the proposal, the sugar trucks would be allowed to carry an extra 5 per cent of weight, bringing the average vehicle weight to 44.63 tonnes, as opposed to the previous maximum of 42.5 tonnes.

‘Transport NSW and RMS are stating that the expected efficiencies of this scheme, based on an expected crop of 1.2 million tonnes of cane, will result in an 8.6 per cent reduction in vehicle movements.

‘Under the current operations 53,330 movements would occur as compared to 48,722 movements (a decrease of 4,608 vehicle movements). ‘

Staff warned that the scheme would result in increased damage or wear to council’s infrastructure by 25 per cent.

‘This will lead to a likely significant reduction in the life of our road pavements. ‘

Despite a staff recommendation to reject the request, Cr Keith Johnson led the push to back the scheme, arguing it would result in less trucks on the road, and less fuel costs, which would result in money staying in the region.

He said the council should agree to support the scheme and then lobby the state government for compensation if the increased roads damaged the local road system.

But Cr Jeff Johnson argued that the scheme amounted to a subsidy to the sugar industry.

‘It’s great to have less trucks on the road but the state government has to compensate for damage to the roads,’ he said.

‘We’re not here to prop up industries and support (Roads Minister) Duncan Gay’s initiative for his National Party mates.’

Cr Sharon Cadwallader attempted an amendment to support the scheme only if the state government agreed to pay compensation for any damage to local roads.

Following debate however, the amendment was rejected and Cr Keith Johnson’s motion to back the scheme was successful.

But not before Cr Jeff Johnson took a dig at Cr Johnson and Cr Paul Worth, saying ‘please don’t come back and argue about the pressure on our roads budget in the future.

‘This is a significant change to the staff recommendation. Staff have been very clear on the added costs,’ he said.

Only Crs Jeff Johnson and Ken Johnson voted against supporting the scheme.

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

1 COMMENT

  1. I have experienced these trucks spraying sugar cane cuttings all over my windscreen while doing over 100 kph with an insecure load.

    If you want to carry more boys spend more money on secure covers.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Sculpture distilled at Husk

The inaugural outdoor exhibition, Sculpture Distilled, opens this week at Husk Farm Distillery and promises the opportunity to get up close and personal with...

Local rum

  Lord Byron Distillery is located right in the Byron Arts & Industry Estate, making it super-easy to visit the distillery if you’re in Byron....

New hinterland whiskey

Winding Road Distillery is based in Tintenbar, and early next week they are due to release their first single malt whiskey, initially to members...

‘Dining in the Dark’ at Forest, Byron

To celebrate the North Coast Festival of Flavour, Forest restaurant is turning off the lights so you can turn up your senses, and let...