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Byron Shire
July 13, 2024

Local businesses suffer at RMS’ hands

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Many local businesses have suffered financial losses since the RMS opened the Pacific Highway upgrade between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale. Promises made by the RMS during the development and implementation of the highway upgrade have not been kept said Macadamia Castle owner Tony Gilding.

‘They have a dreadful culture and they lack any type of empathy for people they have affected and they don’t like to have their authority questioned,’ pointed out Tony.

Whilst the benefit to motorists has been significant there are aspects of the upgrade not completed and the community is still feeling the pain in many areas.

‘My efforts to solve these issues have included hundreds of letters, a meeting with Ben Franklin MLC in March 2016 and a visit to Sydney to meet with Minister for Roads Melinda Pavey on October 12 this year.’

Simple measures like moving signs to the right  location so that they direct traffic to the castle are just not being done.

At the top of the exit ramp of the Ross Lane exit from the South, where I get most of my customers, there are no directions to the castle. It is a matter of moving a sign 25m to the right place.’

The issue of noise impact and mitigation have also been a sticking point between Tony and the RMS.

There is an area at the back of my property where we used to have a kangaroos extension area that is now unusable due to noise from the highway,’ Tony pointed out.

‘They put noise receptors in that were 2-300m away from the affected area and then say there isn’t a noise issue.’

More broken promises

A meeting with RMS and National Party MLC Ben Franklin in March 2016 lead to another list of broken promises from the RMS and Tony and other local businesses are still waiting for the promised completion of the St. Helena lookout information bay and correct signage in the area to direct traffic to their businesses.

MLC Ben Franklin told Echonetdaily that he has ‘been working closely with Tony Gilding in trying to address the Macadamia Castle’s road issues for the last year and a half,’

‘While the upgraded Pacific Highway provides a wonderful benefit for locals and tourists alike, some businesses have taken a hit due to insufficient signage and other challenges.

‘Some issues have been resolved, but others have not. That is very frustrating for me as someone who always tries to stand up for our local community before any other consideration.

‘I am continuing to strongly advocate on behalf of the Macadamia Castle to Roads Minister Melinda Pavey and I hope that she and the RMS can help to address them in the near future.’

Tony Gilding pointed out that the frustration over the lack of response from RMS has left many other people in the area frustrated and highly stressed as they try to negotiate an equitable outcome with the RMS.

More than one health professional has told me that dealing with the RMS has caused severe stress and been detrimental to the health of many of their patients,’ Tony said exasperated.

‘The RMS are in an incredibly privileged position as the only agency in NSW to be immune from legal challenge by legislation. That, however, does not give them to moral right to abuse that trust and to treat local business and MPs with contempt.

There is no commissioner, no accountability and no independent review process.

‘The only way to solve this is to have a face to face meeting with someone high enough up in the RMS that they can effect the right change –currently it is a waste of tax-payers money all this she says, he says letter writing that has been going on for years to resolve these issues.

I live in hope of a Christmas present from the Minster in the form of a phone call saying “I have asked the RMS to fix this urgently” and some urgent action to at least move a sign or two in time for the New Year rush. That would be a Merry Christmas for my staff and I,’ concluded Tony.

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  1. Causing:
    Significant impacts on local businesses.

    Local extinctions of many native species such as the Ballina Koala population and the Wardell Long-nosed Potoroo population.

    Destruction of priceless and irreplaceable Aboriginal cultural heritage and the Ngunya-Jargoon Indigenous Protected Area.

    Go RMS!!

    • If you visit the Koala hospital in Port Macquarie you will not see any sick or injured from displacement from the extensive forest areas that the new highway passes through, nor from injury from the new sections with high fencing. There are sadly many from the other roads in the region and one from the train line. There is no reason to expect a different outcome along the new highway through the lower Richmond. It would b e expected to reduce the number of killed and injured Koalas, and more importantly the number of killed or injured humans. .

    • On your second point, the “Destruction of priceless and irreplaceable Aboriginal cultural heritage and the Ngunya-Jargoon Indigenous Protected Area.” I have read the Jali lands website concerning the management of Destruction of he Ngunya-Jargoon Indigenous Protected Area and do not see nay reference to the concerns you refer to. Can you please advise me and other readers where the customary land owners are publicly expressing their concerns so we can read or hear them first hand?

  2. I have to agree the RTA RMS and any other name they like to go under are heartless illegitimates .Its all about them what they want and when they want it, They can turn smarmy or aggressive at any juncture in your dealings with them. I had a propert on the Highway at clunes a man from the council knocked on my door said I had to remove my garage sale sign as it was on the highway and RTA didnt allow signage,I said you are from council whats it to do with you he said that he worked for both .I immediately asked him to remove his speed camera from my property as there was no permission granted or requested to build it there.He said he had permissin from the person who owned the land adjacent to our property. I told him when he moved the speed camera I wld move my signage and if he got aggressive I would take court action against them, I left the sign up for a year and even added a few.Put your own signs up let them take you to court you will win.Horrible people to deal with.


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