Bid to save cane farms
CANE GROWERS have suggested the upgraded Pacific Highway go through Broadwater National Park in order to avoid farmland.
They have put forward a preferred route for the Pacific Highway, between Woodburn and Ballina, that would see dozens of hectares of cane land saved.
Their route would see the highway avoid the township of Broadwater and go through flood-free country of Broadwater National Park.
The Richmond River Cane Growers (RRCG) and Broadwater Sugar Mill's submission to the RTA says the viability of the industry would be under threat if the amount of cane land was lost under the current proposed routes.
The growers want the highway to remain the same north of Wardell, then go west around the sports grounds, over the high sand ridge to the western side of Laws Hill. It would then cross the river north of Broadwater and head east of Cooks Hill, avoiding Broadwater, go through a floodfree area of Broadwater National Park and reconnect with the highway south of Woodburn.
RRCG president Rod Greentree said growers realised they had to lose cane land in the interests of having an upgraded highway.
"But we are keen to keep that loss to a minimum because our viability depends on it," he said.
"Our industry is struggling at the moment with low world sugar prices and skyrocketing costs such as diesel, fertilisers and repairs.
"We are talking people's livelihoods and an industry which helps support local economies."