After a recent 8 – 0 vote by our Narrabri Shire Councillors to “proactively work with RMS and ARTC to investigate a Highway By Pass of Narrabri” I received numerous calls from member and non-member businesses extremely concerned that this could be the end of their business.
The inclusion below is taken from the Council Minutes 27th November 2018…
That Council work proactively with Road and Maritime Services (RMS) and Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) with regards to the forward planning for a Newell Highway heavy vehicle Bypass; with Councillors to receive monthly updates on the progress of discussions.
In Favour: Crs Robert Kneale, Maxine Booby, Ron Campbell, Ron Campey, Lloyd Finlay, Ann Loder, Annie McMahon and Cameron Staines Against: Nil CARRIED 8/0
The Highway Bypass quickly became the major Agenda topic for Chambers February 12th 2019 meeting. Due to strong attendance interest it was necessary to relocate this meeting to the larger Narrabri Bowling Club function room. As anticipated, a large group of concerned Chamber members attended as well as the Narrabri Shire Council Mayor, GM, Director of Infrastructure Delivery and 3 Councillors.
After an introduction from Chamber President Councillor Ron Campbell read from two Council reports. Councils Director of Infrastructure Delivery gave an overview of the Council developed proposal. This was followed by numerous questions and statements by many local business owners. Some of these included the following…
- No consultation with our Business Community from Council while developing or considering this an unnecessary and untenable project…Why?
- Just by developing and considering the possibility of a Narrabri Bypass Council has considerably devalued many businesses and much of the commercial land.
- Narrabri already has a main street Bypass.
- Many Narrabri businesses rely on passing trade.
- If the figures being quoted by both Federal and State Governments in relation to the Inland Rail project are correct there will be a huge reduction in heavy vehicle traffic flow on the Newell negating the need of a Bypass.
- The Inland Rail Intermodal site identified by Council is located on the Western side of Narrabri. This is the area where the overwhelming amount of regional produce is grown. ..No requirement to haul through town.
- With a Bypass of Coonabarabran being planned, Narrabri will be the only town between Warwick and Dubbo the highway will run through…a huge advantage for Narrabri business and Narrabri in general.
- “Will Council now compensate me for the loss of value to my business now that Council has voted 8-0 in favour of this and gone public?”
When questioned had he considered the business community while developing the Bypass recommendation the Director of Infrastructure Delivery said he had not. He said that he was not in favour of a Highway Bypass of Narrabri however he was particularly keen to develop a quality forward plan for the Shire. All three Councillors in attendance plus the Mayor stated that they were not in favour of the Bypass.
Mayor Redding said that the wording of the Bypass Motion in Council was unfortunately misleading. Mayor Redding agreed to develop a Mayoral Minute to correct and clarify.
General Manager Stewart Todd agreed to liaise with Chamber President Russell Stewart ASAP to supply further documentation on Councils Bypass proposal (27th November 2018) for distribution to Chamber members.
Members left the meeting satisfied in the knowledge that the Mayor, Councillors and staff of Narrabri Shire Council do not support a Highway Bypass of Narrabri.
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