Paradise lost and, for some, retained
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
THE moods of residents between Woodburn and Ballina range from utter joy to devastation as more become aware of the State Government's chosen route for a new highway between the two towns.
In Pimlico, Sartories Road residents Phil and Lynne Allan woke on Thursday morning to the sounds of cheers and champagne corks popping as their neighbours revealed the good news.
One of the Roads and Traffic Authority's proposed routes for the highway would have cut directly through the middle of the Allans' lounge room.
The RTA's preferred route, announced on Wednesday afternoon, is at least a few hundred metres away from the Sartories Road property.
"The proposal they had just didn't make sense," Mr Allan said.
"There's a perfectly straight piece of highway nearby. We're very happy they decided to do the logical thing and keep it there.
"We do feel sorry for the people along the way who will be affected, but it's a huge relief for us.
"It's especially good for the young couples who live along the road and only recently bought their properties."
To celebrate, the Allans took a walk through their property admiring the gardens they had spent 12 years creating.
It was the first time in six months they were not worried about losing it all.
"The bulldozers aren't coming!" said Mrs Allan.
"The property is still ours.
"We also just found out we have a new grandchild and now they'll be able to come to the farm."
However, further south, Alberto Villegas wished the new route did not have to bypass Woodburn.
The owner of Alberto's Cafe, on the existing highway, said about 80 per cent of his customers were travellers who would no longer be driving past his business.
"The town will die," he said.
"We've already lost the visitors' centre and the credit union. If the traffic gets taken out of town we won't survive."
Mr Villegas said he would continue to keep his cafe open in the hope it would take the Government a few more years to acquire the funding needed to build the new road.
"I've been here seven months and I'm happy in Woodburn, but I'm worried soon the town will have nothing to offer," he said.
Residents have until January 31 to comment on the RTA's preferred route.
For more information visit www.rta.nsw.gov.au.