Darryl Clarke of Cumberland pictured at his home  is not against the  highway upgrade and wants to stay where he is.
Darryl Clarke of Cumberland pictured at his home is not against the highway upgrade and wants to stay where he is. Northern Star/Jacklyn Wagner

RTA sells house from under disability pensioner

BALLINA man Darryl Clarke said news that his home would be demolished to make way for the Ballina bypass felt like a 'smack in the face'.

The disability pensioner, who lives with his seven-year-old son on a property off the Pacific Highway, north of Ballina, said the NSW RTA had 'gone back on its word' that he wouldn't have to move.

Mr Clarke said the RTA bought the property from the owner about six years ago, and since then he had been paying rent to the RTA.

He said that at the time of purchase, the RTA told him he would not have to move because the highway would go through the paddock at the top of the property and would not affect the house.

However, he said that about six weeks ago, the RTA told him that it had changed the bypass route and he would now have to move as the house would be demolished to make way for it.

"I was completely shattered," Mr Clarke, who has lived at the property for 11 years said.

"I planted all these fruit trees, got the garden nice and really looked after the place.

"Then I get told I have to move because the house is going to be demolished. It was a smack in the face."

Mr Clarke said he wished the RTA had just 'stuck with what they originally said', or that it had told him he would have to move in the first place, so that he hadn't spent money on the property.

"I said I had no problem with the noise of them building the highway up the paddock, and they said as long as I didn't mind the noise, I could stay," he said.

"It's disgusting. There's a housing shortage and they want to knock down my house."

But the RTA said Mr Clarke was advised at the time of purchase that his home might be affected.

"The RTA reviewed the Ballina bypass in light of recent planning on adjacent highway sections, construction timing issues and considering future traffic growth," an RTA spokesperson said.

"The original Ballina bypass route has since changed to improve traffic safety and efficiency.

"These changes were outlined and available for the community to view as part of the improved concept design, which was on display in a number of locations in July 2007."


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