IN A FIX: Matt Wilson (right), manager of the Workers Sports Club at Goonellabah, with local resident Peter Stace at the Oliver Avenue site.
IN A FIX: Matt Wilson (right), manager of the Workers Sports Club at Goonellabah, with local resident Peter Stace at the Oliver Avenue site. Jacklyn Wagner

In a hole over the delay

FOR many Goonellabah residents it has been a long time between drinks at Lismore Workers and Sports Club since the collapse of part of Oliver Avenue during the May flood.

With about 70 per cent of the club's usual patrons living on the Lismore side of the seven-metre wide gap in the road, hundreds of patrons have signed a petition over the last couple of days demanding the council fix the busy Goonellabah Road.

“People can't get here since the road collapsed,” said 77-year-old regular patron Peter Stace.

“If I want to pick up a mate of mine on the other side of the hole, I have to drive another 1.8km.”

Yet after assuring the community in May that the road would be fixed within three months, the council said yesterday it was unlikely to be fixed before Christmas.

That's not good enough, said the club's premises manager Matt Wilson.

“It's just outrageous,” he said.

“How long does it take them to make a decision? They have had three months now.

“I've emailed our mayor, who does a fantastic job, but if council was situated on this side of the hole and they had to travel an extra 2km to make it into town how long would it take them to fix it?”

Mayor Jenny Dowell said she appreciated the concerns of businesses and residents on the other side of the gaping hole.

“The RTA has to approve every individual step,” she said.

“We have to make sure we get it right so it doesn't happen again. Unfortunately that takes time.”

She said the Oliver Avenue culvert could not be replaced with a similar structure.

“The process is under way,” she said.

“Council has engaged consultants to prepare two separate designs for a bridge and an arch culvert at this site. Geotechnical investigation work is complete and the consultants are currently working on the designs.”

When the design work is complete the RTA can make a final decision.

Cr Dowell said she was unsure why the process was taking so long, but added that materials had been sourced for both designs, so that once the design was approved, work could start immediately.

“Council is currently in the process of finalising an accurate timeline,” she said.

“This should be available in about a week. Rather than continue to give best estimates of a timeline council will calculate an accurate timeline which will give certainty to the community.”

An RTA spokesman said once assessed the proposed design work would proceed as a priority.



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