Everything old is new again it seems – and so it is with the old Pacific Highway between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale, now dubbed the ‘magical’ Hinterland Way.
A new sign celebrating the road’s ethereal qualities – or at the very least its tourist appeal – is being launched this morning at the intersection with Coolamon Scenic Drive.
The popular lookout spot has long been crying out for a bit of beautification itself and the erection of a new shelter and tourist signage by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) should help with that.
It should also put to bed an acrimonious spat between the road-building authority and the management of the Macadamia Castle, who have been at odds about signage to the popular family attraction, which has been bypassed by the new highway.
In May last year, soon after the motorway opened, Macadamia Castle owner Tony Gilding accused the RMS of being ‘a law unto themselves’ and said that ‘repeated requests’ for a meeting with the minister responsible, Nationals MP Duncan Gay, went ignored.
‘The signage plan was ready, but the signage was not when the highway opened,’ he said.
‘Permanent exits and ramps opened three months after the highway.
‘We were promised a Hinterland Way Coolamon Scenic Drive information bay, but that is maybe years away,’ Mr Gilding told Echonetdaily at the time.
But that day has finally come, and a star spangled day it will be with attendees at the unveiling set to include Ballina MP Tamara Smith (Greens) and the Ballina and Lismore mayors together with Bob Higgins and Peter Borelli from the RMS.
‘This is joint process between Lismore, Byron and Ballina Councils along with Bangalow Chamber, Newyrbar Progress Association and Macadamia Castle,’ Mr Gilding said.
‘The sign, funded by RMS, is designed to mitigate the highway effect on destinations on and to the west of the old highway and will be a starting point for visitors wanting to expand their trip beyond the coast and Byron Bay.
‘The sign is the first step in the RMS commitment to supply a permanent information bay and shelter at Coolamon Scenic Drive,’ Mr Gilding said.