Mayor remembers losing his sister
RICHMOND Valley Council mayor Col Sullivan, like many other Northern Rivers residents, knows first-hand what it is like to lose a family member to the notoriously deadly Pacific Highway.
His sister, Gwen King, died seven years ago after a head-on collision on the highway at Telegraph Point, near Port Macquarie, which left her husband Alan King seriously injured.
“The road was not divided then but it is now and this is the sort of progress that needs to keep happening to prevent these accidents,” Cr Sullivan said.
“I knew many people who have been killed on the highway – and it’s a very sad death.
“There needs to be an upgrade of the highway for everyone’s safety.”
The memorial-ridden stretch of road between Ballina and Coffs Harbour is to be toured by mayors from the region and NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell on April 8 to make government leaders aware of the need for an upgrade.
While Mr O’Farrell has confirmed his spot on the tour, NSW Premier Kristina Keneally will not attend.
“Ian McDonald will be attending the tour for Kristina Keneally in his role as duty MLC for the region,” confirmed a spokesperson for the Premier yesterday.
Mr McDonald’s confirmed attendance has still not calmed calls from regional MPs for the Premier to attend herself, especially after yesterday’s double fatality near New Italy.
“I encourage (Ms Keneally) to come personally as it is important for the Premier to have first-hand experience and look at the road conditions,” Cr Sullivan said.
“She needs to make a special effort to giver greater recognition for remembering the people on the North Coast.
“The highway will bypass many villages and has generated interest that way and politicians need to realise that.
“As a city person, it is important for the Premier to speak first-hand to the community.”
Alongside Cr Sullivan, mayors from the Clarence Valley, Ballina and Coffs Harbour councils will join the Pacific Highway tour.