'Accident waiting to happen': Call for action after tragedy
THE president of the Nimbin Chamber of Commerce is calling for action to improve pedestrian safety after a woman was killed in a hit-and-run incident on Monday night.
Diana Roberts, who also sits on the Nimbin Advisory Board set up by Lismore City Council, said it was "extremely difficult" to hear about the 62-year-woman who died when she was struck by a car on Cecil St.
A man, 63, who was also hit by the car, suffered serious injuries including a suspected broken leg and was taken to Lismore Base Hospital where he remains in a stable condition.
"Cecil St was an accident waiting to happen," Ms Roberts said.
"It could have been me, it could have been anybody.
"If you're a driver you cannot pass a pedestrian. I walk that road often and if it's daylight you don't necessary hear a car is coming and you can't always step out of the way when walking along the road.
"It's extremely difficult to see cars approaching."
Ms Roberts, who was a councillor for 13 years, said the community has always battled with council to get better pedestrian access along Cecil St.
"When a lot of the subdivisions were going to be built in that area I lobbied at that time to improve Cecil St for pedestrian safety, especially at the intersection of Cullen St," she said.
"I argued the costs should be attributed to the developer.
"There's hundreds of houses that have gone in there.
"It's become a very busy road and was always going to become a very busy road. (The council) has done nothing for years then last year they put these ridiculous traffic islands."
Ms Roberts said a plan was put in place to create 'Rainbow Road', which would be used as a car-free route for pedestrians to access the main section of Nimbin.
But last month the council announced it was delaying and cancelling 33 projects after discovering the budget was $6.1 million in deficit.
One of the projects cancelled was to investigate feasibility and funding for Nimbin Walking Trail, also known as Rainbow Road, which would provide appropriate pedestrian access along the main street of Nimbin towards Nimbin Showground and Nimbin Pre-school along Cecil St.
"We also had an alternative plan to create a pedestrian right of way from Cullen St, it was being used anyway to get into the main part of town," Ms Roberts said.
"It was really important that consolidate a legal right of way, which LCC did.
"We as a community moved to make it a tourism road, it became Rainbow Road.
"But last month council canned that project after 10 years in the making, as one of their budget saving measures.
"They never came to us, never talked to us (about scrapping the project)."
Ms Roberts said the project would need to attract tourism funding to get up off the ground but she hoped the council would now resume its efforts to help finish the project.
"One can only hope it won't be a senseless tragedy," she said.
"If they don't do something, this won't be the end of this. The road will only get busier. I hate that it might take something like this to make someone listen.
"The problem is there has been nobody in council to do something with a passion to do this.
"It's felt within the community that we don't have a voice or an ear."
At its April 9 meeting, the council supported a recommendation from the Traffic Advisory Committee that they decline to remove the "traffic calming device", or traffic island, on Cecil St.
The traffic island was installed last year in response to concerns about speeding motorists and inquiries that found many vehicles were speeding along the street but the council report identified ongoing concerns about the width of the road at the culvert crossing near the traffic island.
The council voted to install advisory pedestrian signs and to investigate options to fund a pedestrian walkway at this dangerous culvert.
Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith said the council would assist the police investigation "in any way possible".
"This is a horrific incident and I extend my deepest condolences to the family of the deceased," Cr Smith said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this painful time."