Garry Johnston of Clunes believes that the speed camera has made the village safer and quieter by removing the sound of metal on metal.
Garry Johnston of Clunes believes that the speed camera has made the village safer and quieter by removing the sound of metal on metal. Cathy Adams

Clunes' fight to keep speed camera

LIFE-LONG Clunes resident and businessman Garry Johnston fears he will once again regularly hear the sickening sound of metal against metal, predicting more crashes as motorists speed through the sleepy village between Lismore and Byron.

After Clunes residents successfully lobbied the State Government 10 years ago to install a speed camera on the approach from Lismore, the new O’Farrell Government yesterday announced it and two other cameras in the Northern Rivers would be removed.

The decision came after an auditor-general’s review of cameras across the state, with the Minister for Roads Duncan Gay instructing the removal of 38 “ineffective” cameras, including those located at Clunes, Brunswick Valley Way at Ocean Shores and the Bruxner Highway at Alstonville.

“We want to make sure cameras are there for road safety, not as revenue raisers,” Mr Gay said.

“For some camera locations, the number of crashes did not drop.”

It’s not an argument Mr Johnston, or the outgoing president of the Clunes Progress Association Peter Taylor is buying, and Mr Johnston intends to write to the Government telling them that.

“The main concern is slowing the traffic going through here and making it safer for the public,” Mr Johnston said.

“Some people will throw their hands up in the air and yell ‘yippee’, but once this gets out the locals will complain about it because it has proved a success in this area.”

He said from the vantage point of his business on the curve coming into the village, he has seen speeding cars sideswipe on-coming vehicles as drivers lost control and swerved onto the wrong side of the road and even a fatal crash before the camera was installed.

Since then, there has not been a single crash, he said.

Mr Taylor said even with the camera some motorists reached speeds of more than 70kmh opposite the bus stop used by school children and where people regularly cross the road to the General Store.

“It’s well needed in Clunes because vehicles just rip through the village, even with the camera,” he said.

So beloved is the camera by residents, the Progress Association has been pushing for another camera at the other end of the village.

 

Crash and burn

  • More than 170 people die across NSW each year due to speeding
  • More than 4100 are injured
  • Death and injuries cost the community $870 million a year

SOURCE: AUDITOR GENERAL



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