Dean Koch, a motel owner, is losing business due to amistake in the naming of Ballina Road on a number of websites and GPS systems. Guests are having trouble finding his motel.
Dean Koch, a motel owner, is losing business due to amistake in the naming of Ballina Road on a number of websites and GPS systems. Guests are having trouble finding his motel. Jay Cronan

Road name causes confusion

AT THE time it seemed the easiest way to resolve the confusion.

Instead of having Bruxner Highway become Ballina Street from the bridge over the Wilsons River to the Goonellabah Post Office, and then become Ballina Road until the city boundary, Lismore City Council in 2007 changed it all to Ballina Road, from the bridge over the river to the city boundary.

Yet three years later many businesses and residents along the busy road said the solution had been anything but straightforward.

Type in Ballina Road to web-based address locator Whereis.com and you would discover the problem, said Dean Koch, owner of the Wilson Motel at 119 Ballina Road.

Instead of directing tourists to him in downtown Lismore, or more precisely Girards Hill, they are sent to New Ballina Road in Goonellabah.

“We know that some deliveries have turned up up the hill and they have phoned us asking where we are,” Mr Koch said.

“But this happens more often with guests, both prebooked and travellers referred to us, who have used their GPS.”

And it’s not just the Whereis locator that’s hurting Mr Koch’s business – even the map in the council’s glossy villages tourist brochure still calls it Ballina Street.

And don’t get Mr Koch started on Google maps or Australia Post.

Despite numerous attempts by Mr Koch to get the address corrected, websites and government departments – ‘with the greatest of sympathy’ – have all passed the buck.

“We’ve changed all our invoices and letters to put the PO Box number on it because of the confusion, but it hasn’t worked completely,” he said.

“We received a letter on February 9 this year containing a cheque that was mailed on October 30. It was clearly addressed to the Wilson Motel, 199 Ballina Road, Lismore. Now, I don’t know where it had been but the envelope looked pretty battered.”

After a week of trying to ascertain which government department has the ability to fix the mistake, The Northern Star is no closer to solving the mystery than Mr Koch.

Immediately after gazetting the name change, council notified more than 20 government agencies and encouraged residents and businesses to update their address details.

Whereis.com owner, Telstra, expressed concern over any confusion, but after four working days could not shed any light on the problem.

Google Maps gets its maps from Sydney-based Map Data Sciences. Its spokesman rejected suggestions its maps might be wrong, claiming if there was a fault it was due to data from PSMA Australia.

But PSMA said it has called Ballina Road since May 2008.



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