You want Maria River Road sealed: Port News poll

Road sealing: Northside Progress Association secretary Narelle Milligan and president Kingsleay Searle at the southern end of the Maria River Road.
Road sealing: Northside Progress Association secretary Narelle Milligan and president Kingsleay Searle at the southern end of the Maria River Road.

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A Port Macquarie News poll asking if readers wanted to see Maria River Road sealed has returned an overwhelming yes vote.

The week-long poll was published on the Port News website.

Just over 88 per cent of poll respondents indicated they wanted the dangerous gravel road sealed. There were 547 respondents.

Kempsey Shire Council and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will jointly make submission for grant funding to seal the dangerous stretch of gravel road.

Submissions for funding are due on September 1.

The poll result – see below – will further strengthen calls for the sealing of the road and will likely be discussed at a planned meeting at Crescent Head Surf Club on Monday August 21.

Organised by Crescent Head resident Mark Baxter, the meeting is at 5.30pm and Kempsey Shire Council’s director of infrastructure Robert Scott will be attending.

Mr Baxter said the application for funding, if successful, will bring plenty of opportunity for the Macleay and Port Macquarie-Hastings regions.

“If the Maria River Road is sealed, it would provide a massive amount of tourists from Port Macquarie to enjoy our many coastal towns and villages,” he said.

“I think it would tap into tourists and residents from Port Macquarie coming to our valley, visiting Crescent Head, South West Rocks and other areas. Tourism industries will benefit.

“It will also create employment opportunities,” he said.

If the Maria River Road is sealed, it would provide a massive amount of tourism from Port Macquarie to enjoy our many coastal towns and villages.

Mark Baxter

Mr Baxter said the sealing of the gravel road would add the final jigsaw piece for a coastal road from Camden Haven right through to South West Rocks.

“And that would encourage travellers to drop into those villages. It would be a connecting link road,” he added.

Northside Progress Association president Kingsley Searle said he is aware of the Crescent Head meeting and will attend if possible.

“We held a meeting with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council on August 16 to move along the application for funding,” Mr Searle said.

“The meeting was told about the many letters of support already received form residents and received an update from council on the application’s progress.

“We are busily correlating information from business operating along the Maria River Road and also receiving statements on the financial implications of having the road sealed.”

Mr Searle said the overwhelming majority of people he had spoken with wanted the road sealed.

“From residents and other regular users right through to people who drive up there once or twice a year, they are all commenting that they want the road sealed,” he added.

Mr Scott said council had adopted a delivery program in June which identified the need to prepare designs and plans for a joint project with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to seal the road.

The public meeting is on Monday August 21 at 5.30pm at the Crescent Head Surf Club.