The planned bypass route for Woodburn.
The planned bypass route for Woodburn. Contributed

Town planning for a post-bypass lift

IT HAS been spoken about for decades, but finally the Pacific Highway upgrade between Woodburn and Ballina has been given the go ahead by the NSW and Federal governments.

Aside from Woodburn, a number of other Richmond Valley communities will be affected, such as Broadwater, Coraki, Evans Head and New Italy.

According to Richmond Valley Mayor Ernie Bennett, this means it's time to put post-bypass plans in action.

Cr Bennett said the secret for a community to survive a highway bypass was to plan ahead, and to plan early. He said it also involved thinking more laterally.

"This is where Richmond Valley Council comes in," Cr Bennett said.

"Instead of fearing the loss of traffic, council will join with residents and business and industry to reinvent our towns as destinations in their own right.

"Work needs to start on a master plan to not only attract overnight visitors, but also day trippers to restaurants, cafes, hotels, shops and other amenities. This may require beautifying main streets and recreation areas, and widening footpaths to encourage more alfresco dining."

Cr Bennett said the council would hold a public meeting in the Woodburn Memorial Hall on Tuesday, September 23, from 6pm to put in place a strategic plan for all communities post-Pacific Highway bypass.

Speakers will include Cr Bennett, council's General Manager John Walker, State Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, and representatives from Woodburn Chambers of Commerce, Roads and Maritime Services, TAFE and Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan's office.

Cr Bennett said a strong attendance by community and business leaders at this meeting would send a clear message to all stakeholders that the Richmond Valley was serious about its communities becoming post-bypass success stories.



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