An alliance of action groups has launched a petition calling for a public inquiry stemming from the council's handling of the Port Macquarie orbital road proposal.
The petition calls on the state government, specifically the Local Government Minister, to initiate a public inquiry into Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and the entire proposed orbital road project.
It also asks the minister to suspend the council during the public inquiry period.
The Port Macquarie Better Orbital Options Alliance is behind the petition which cites "overwhelming opposition" to the current route.
The council has separated the fiercely debated airport access road from orbital road project investigations after community concern.
Port Macquarie Better Orbital Options Alliance spokesperson Grant Mitchell encouraged the community to support the petition.
Mr Mitchell said they believed the council was not being transparent, not genuinely engaging with the community and not following due process on the project.
He pointed to new primary airport access road strategic concept design documents as an example of this.
Mr Mitchell questioned the level of detail in the designs despite the council saying the orbital road project was in the very early stages of development.
I'm broadly comfortable we've followed a robust process to get to this point.General manager Craig-Swift-McNair
Council's general manager Craig Swift-McNair said the airport access road had been on the cards for a long time and the concept designs were about how a new Fernhill Road/Oxley Highway intersection would work.
Mr Swift-McNair said there had been a very detailed orbital road project plan to this point and he accepted a decision had been made which part of the community didn't like.
"I'm broadly comfortable we've followed a robust process to get to this point, and if we weren't being transparent, we wouldn't have gone to the public [engagement] in November," he said.
Mr Swift-McNair said any member of the NSW public had a right to petition the state government on anything.
Mr Mitchell stressed the alliance was not asking the council to transfer the orbital road to affect other people's homes so their homes were saved.
"We want council to find a less destructive way," he said.
"We want council to go through due process, we want them to be transparent and we want them to engage with us genuinely."
Denis Lane from Sanctuary Springs-Greenmeadows Action Group and Port Macquarie Better Orbital Options Alliance said they had no other option but to launch the petition.
I respect it [proposed orbital road] has upset many members in our community, and if the community feels that's the action they need to take, I acknowledge that also.Mayor Peta Pinson
Mayor Peta Pinson is preparing to raise her concerns over the councillors' orbital road decision making when she meets with Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock on Wednesday, July 31.
Cr Pinson said she would advise the minister about her awareness of the petition, noting she had no involvement with it.
"I respect it [proposed orbital road] has upset many members in our community, and if the community feels that's the action they need to take, I acknowledge that also," the mayor said.
Cr Pinson will share with the minister impact statements provided by the community over the proposed orbital road project.
Ours is by any measure a leading council in this state, with nothing to hide and I'd willingly participate in an inquiry but can see no valid grounds for it or for council's suspension or dismissal.Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann said she understood the disappointment of people personally affected, but the orbital road proposal and regional traffic planning was currently council's biggest, most critical strategic issue, with a fast growing population already suffering traffic congestion.
"We will be damned if we do or don't - but doing nothing for the future is not an option," she said.
"Council has followed due process, been transparent and consulted widely. Ours is by any measure a leading council in this state, with nothing to hide and I'd willingly participate in an inquiry but can see no valid grounds for it or for council's suspension or dismissal.
"People shouldn't imagine they would get a better hearing or consultation from an appointed administrator and councillor elections put on hold for many years.
"Council's June decision, confirmed in July, is comprehensive, considers all options, and moves us all forward as quickly as possible with full transparency."
Petitions are available at St Columba Anglican School as well as at 5 Fernhill Road, Port Macquarie and on the Port Macquarie Better Orbital Options Alliance Facebook page.
The alliance aims to secure at least 10,000 signatures which means the petition would be discussed in NSW parliament.
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