LIFT-OFF: Southern Cross LADS (Learn About Driving Skills) stage one construction, the driving track, begins.
LIFT-OFF: Southern Cross LADS (Learn About Driving Skills) stage one construction, the driving track, begins. Jasmine Burke

'A legacy for the boys': Driving school takes shape

IT'S been a long and winding road to build a new driver education centre in Lismore but stage one is finally under way with the asphalt for the project laid down.

Crews from Morgans Earthmoving, Fulton Hogan and Newton Denny Chapelle were on hand at the driver education facility, which is designed to deliver training programs on-track and in-classroom for individuals and groups.

The idea to build the local driver education track came following a tragedy 10 years ago, when local teenagers Bryce Wells, Corey New, Mitch Eveleigh and Paul Morris died in a car crash on Broken Head Rd near Byron Bay.

It's been a monumental task to seek the necessary approvals and funding for the project.

LADS (Learn About Driving Skills) chairman Paul Rippon said stage one was costed at $800,000.

"Our next goal is to raise another $1.5 million to construct stage two, which has an amenities building and training rooms," Mr Rippon said.

"There will be some courses and the focus is on young driver education on track and in the classroom, but older drivers wanting to refresh their skills will also benefit.

"There's no facility like this between Newcastle and South-East Queensland.

"Our future plan is to build a 4WD training track, quad bike training and courses for learning how to properly park caravans and trailers."

The facility will also be available for companies to provide a defensive driving courses for their employees.

"We hope to be operational this side of Christmas, with all courses hopefully available within the first 12 months," Mr Rippon said.

LADS committee secretary Robert Wells said it was a monumental moment.

"We can see the light at the end of the tunnel from the vision we had back in 2010," he said.

"The community has got the start of a big asset. It's a legacy for the boys."



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