News

Pacific Hwy to cut through 150-year-old family farm

OVER-RUN: Broadwater cane farmer Mark Byrne is concerned by plans to run a highway through the middle of his cane plantation.
OVER-RUN: Broadwater cane farmer Mark Byrne is concerned by plans to run a highway through the middle of his cane plantation. Marc Stapelberg

BROADWATER cane grower Mark Byrne is still battling against the Pacific Highway upgrade route that will go straight through his 150-year old family farm.

For at least a decade Mr Byrne has stood against what he sees as short-sighted option by Roads and Maritime Services.

Mr Byrne's ancestors started the farm on the northern outskirts of Broadwater in the 1860s and, despite having sold off bits and pieces, it still covered more than 60 hectares.

Mr Byrne says Roads and Maritime Services' plan for the highway upgrade would run part of the new road through his property, damaging the viability of a working farm while unused blocks with "for sale" signs on them sat next door.

Mr Byrne said he had been offered compensation for the land, but said the figure was too low and failed to account for the family heritage of the farm or the fact that he didn't want to sell.

A spokesperson for Roads and Maritime Services said the organisation carried out extensive investigations of route options for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade between 2004 and 2009.

The service's preferred route was chosen based on environmental, social and economic factors.

"Roads and Maritime understands Mr Byrnes' concerns but, regrettably, land is required from his property for the highway upgrade," the spokesperson said.

Save Ballina's Koalas campaigners also wanted the proposed highway route changed.

Where it travels north to the west of the current highway after crossing the Richmond River it will go through the Blackwall Range, a nationally significant population of koalas, Lorraine Vass, Save Ballina's Koalas president said.

"This koala population is very likely already in decline. The last thing it needs is a national highway running through it," she said.

The RMS spokesperson said the route was chosen and approved with strict conditions by the State and Federal Planning ministers because it avoided Jali Aboriginal Land Council land, wetlands and the Wardell Heath, which provided habitat for threatened species including the olongburra frog, koalas and grey-headed flying foxes.

"Rerouting the highway would also have significant impacts on cane land and floodplains and would delay major building work," the spokesperson said.

The planned route minimised overall ecological impacts compared to other feasible routes by reducing impact on regionally significant agricultural land and noise and visual impacts on Broadwater and Wardell resulting in better amenity for the local communities.

The planned route was designed to minimise flooding impacts and provide better value for money for taxpayers by taking the shortest possible route through flood affected areas.

Topics:  broadwater, farmer, pacific highway upgrade




Is this the start of our Rural Renaissance?

Exports to the US have dropped 40%, China 30% and Japan 10%. China and Saudi Arabia have once more open their doors to Brazilian beef while Indonesia is now looking to Indian buffalo meat to boost its supplies

Rising prices the talk of the town as rain raises farmers’ spirits

Lismore picked to host world-class daredevil show in 2017

Oakes Oval in Lismore will host the sell-out, worldwide phenomenon that is Nitro Circus Live during its 15-city Australian tour in April.

Big boost to local business and big news for BMX fans

Do you think you have the cutest baby on the Northern Rivers?

Dad Tim Sherwin with his 3 year old son Levi Sherwin, who has been entered in the Baby Show.

Comp judges cutest baby, happiest baby and baby with longest lashes

Latest deals and offers

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

TELEVISION: New show is a Survivor, for now

Jonathan LaPaglia hosts the TV series Australian Survivor.

WHAT happens when a new show with a big budget flops?

Rachel Weisz understands celebrity gossip fascination

Actor Rachel Weisz

Weisz says mystery is good for an actor

Gina Rodriguez relished dramatic change for new film

Jane the Virgin lead Gina Rodriguez

TV star shaved her hair for movie role

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m