Macadamia Castle zoo keeper James Kelly out the front of the famous tourist attraction which has to change its address due to the new highway. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Macadamia Castle zoo keeper James Kelly out the front of the famous tourist attraction which has to change its address due to the new highway. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

Highway signage fail by RMS costing local jobs

PEAK visitor season at Macadamia Castle is suffering due to the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale upgrade opening before Roads and Maritime Services had installed promised road signs.

The new highway upgrade has long been a source of anxiety for the local landmark because it was destined to be bypassed. Now Macadamia Castle owner Tony Gilding’s worst nightmare has come true with RMS failing to complete an “agreed signage plan” to redirect motorists to the Castle.

Mr Gilding said visitor numbers were now “significantly down” on previous summer holiday seasons and as a result cuts to casual staff hours had been necessary.

“If it doesn’t get fixed we’ll have to cut an even larger amount,” he warned.

“It’s a direct impact from (RMS’) failure to honour their obligations.

“It’s not a good look that the State Government could be taking away jobs by their incompetence.”

Mr Gilding said the RMS told him they could now not do anything about the problem until January 15 –a period which represents 25% of the Castle’s yearly turnover.

“They’ve had 8 years and $852 million, and you think they would have got it right, but they haven’t.... it’s a poor excuse to say sorry the signage wasn’t ready.

“It’s just an abdication of their responsibility. Even the locals had a lot of trouble finding us.

There are currently solar powered electric signs in place, but no permanent ones. The Ross Lane interchange is not expected to be fully complete until the end of January.

Mr Gilding said a solution could easily be found, and even offered to supply a generator to power the signs on cloudy days.

But he said the oversight by the RMS when they knew they were opening the highway just before Christmas was unforgivable.

“It’s signage that should have been in place according to their own plan,” he said.

“We urge the RMS to rectify these issues now and not insist we wait until January 15 by which stage more jobs will have been lost,” he said.

A Roads and Maritime Services spokeswoman said the installing all permanent signage was “ not practical” with traffic conditions changing as work continues on the upgrade.

“Currently, all available electronic message signs have been installed at intersections along the upgrade to ensure motorists are well informed of changed traffic conditions.

“The permanent signage plan will be put in place in stages as work is completed”.



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