Crowd expected as Port Macquarie-Hastings Council considers proposed orbital road next steps

United stance: Grant Mitchell discusses plans for the orbital road alliance with fellow members of the various groups at launch of the alliance in early June.
United stance: Grant Mitchell discusses plans for the orbital road alliance with fellow members of the various groups at launch of the alliance in early June.

An alliance of action groups is calling on the council to abandon its identified most viable Port Macquarie orbital road route.

The Port Macquarie Better Orbital Options Alliance says the route fails to offer claimed solutions and impacts unnecessarily on our community.

Traffic solutions are needed in Port Macquarie, the alliance agrees, but says this route is not the solution.

The alliance supports, that post the June 19 Port Macquarie-Hastings meeting, the council comes forward with not less than three options for an east-west link.

It says those options need to avoid intrusion into the Lake Innes Nature Reserve and sensitive wetland areas, and limit adverse impacts to homes and institutions, while addressing traffic issues now and into the future.

A full house is expected at the council's meeting on Wednesday, June 19 as councillors consider a community engagement report and recommendations on the proposed next steps.

The proposed orbital road planning responds to traffic congestion and the need to provide a flood-free connection to the airport.

About 470 properties fall within the investigation corridor with a final route yet to be determined.

Phil Lloyd from the Sanctuary Springs-Greenmeadows Action Group said if council decided to progress to the strategic business case, then it should remove the current route once and for all.

"Council's favoured route has no state or federal support for likely funding, is unlikely to be permitted to cross the Innes Lake Nature Reserve without the support of [Port Macquarie MP] Leslie Williams, impacts far too negatively on residents and doesn't offer council's claimed traffic congestion solution," he said.

Mr Lloyd said the best outcome would be to take the current route off the table and invest in traffic solutions which could be funded and implemented now.

Save Fernhill organiser Grant Mitchell said the best outcome would be for the council to find a less destructive way for the new airport road that didn't potentially destroy Port Macquarie koala habitat, heritage, disability services and family homes.

He says residents are feeling nervous, worried and suspicious, because of the way they have felt the Fernhill story has unfolded over the past six months.

Lindsay Moller from the Lake Innes Orbital Road Action Group said the council must widen its investigation corridor and find a solution far less destructive to our community and its homes.

"Council should not proceed to strategic case in its current form," Mr Moller said.

"We have an amazing opportunity to get this right and the whole community can benefit from it in the coming 20 to 30 years," he said.

The St Columba Anglican School community is also concerned about the potential impact on the school.

The school's principal, Terry Muldoon, said he would like to see a review of the options and effective engagement with the state and federal governments.

The proposed orbital road consists of the collective east-west link (Ocean Drive to Oxley Highway), the north-south link (Oxley Highway to Boundary Street) and the flood-free primary airport access road.

Council general manager Craig Swift-McNair reiterated the council had made no decision to construct an orbital road.

He said the council had listened to community views and carefully considered its recommendations to council regarding next steps.

Mr Swift-McNair said the feedback received from the community had been extensive.

"More than 17,000 members of our community have viewed the information on our website, completed a survey, written to us or attended one of the many community meetings," he said.

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