Letter: Paradise lost to over-development

It is time for all of us to confront an inconvenient truth, and make more of a noise about it.   

This wonderful place that we love has been over-developed across the Besseling-Pinson era.  And right now it is at a tipping point.

Unless some honesty and true vision prevails, the current custodians of our council (councillors and planners alike) will condemn future generations to a poorly orchestrated mess.

Firstly we need to consider what progress is.  It’s not building more and more, to the point where the road systems simply can’t work anymore.  It’s about having a place that works, that flows, and that is pleasant to live in.  And it doesn’t take a degree in Town Planning to realise some of the issues at hand.  Let’s look at them.

Lake Innes:  There’s one way in and one way out.  And yet council pumps more and more development into the area, without providing the one piece of infrastructure – the longstanding epic planning fail – that does need to be built.  

A link road from Lake Innes to Lighthouse, diverting volumes of unwanted gridlock from Wright’s Road, Lake Road, Ocean Road and the rest.  It’s just a no-brainer and can run adjacent to (inside of) existing development, causing minimal impact on the environment.   

This one fix is a real solution when compared to the nonsense of the plan to put double lanes on Ocean Road (which would do little more than move the traffic jam further down the line faster).   

Lake Road:  The place where most people would rather not be and don’t really have a reason to be, except for the fact that they have struggle through it to the other side because the road system gives them no option.  

Currently we see a bandaid solution of an extra lane being added, at huge cost and inconvenience, to (again) throw the traffic jam a little further down the line.

Wright’s Road Roundabout and the Sovereign Hills expansion:  A poorly designed roundabout, with a series of budget-saving merging exit lanes that only add to the congestion.  

Bandaid solutions again with some traffic lights installed, almost as an acknowledgement that the design of the roundabout is failing to cope.   

And what do we hear now?  Bunnings is planning to move there.  It beggars belief.  All this as hundreds of more homes are approved in the Sovereign Hills region, pumping more and more traffic into the gridlock.

Lake Cathie and Bonny Hills about to merge:  Look at all the pegs in the ground between the beautiful Lake Cathie and Bonny Hills.  It’s all there, rubber-stamped by council.  Massive estates that will effectively see the sprawl join up between the two.  

And so it goes here, there, and everywhere.  What can be done?

Well, let’s start with some transparency from council. Where is the long awaited traffic management study?  It is now 12 months overdue from public scrutiny and conveniently buried within council where it is being ‘analysed’?  

And perhaps Mayor Pinson might lead from the front. 

Beyond building the desperately overdue link road from Lake Innes to Lighthouse, maybe Mayor Pinson could oversee a halt to all new development for the chance to take stock. Just for a bit.  Let’s stop the sprawling mess and hold an audit and a forum.  We have to get it right and her legacy might well benefit from it.

Because what do we really want this place, our home, to be. And will it work for future generations?  Our current custodians are in dangerous territory. 

Please don’t nod in agreement and leave it at that.  You can do a really big thing about it.  The most important thing. 

You can be heard.  

Get on the council website, where you will find emails for our councillors, and let them know what you think about what they’re doing.   

Brian Johnson

Port Macquarie