‘The Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, is visiting Coffs Harbour today to release a glossy brochure detailing the concept design for the Coffs Harbour Bypass.

It understood the Morrison Government is going to confirm it is going the “El Cheapo” route that prefers trenches and canyons over tunnels.

This is short-sighted, totally wrong and ripping-off the people of the Coffs Coast as it will ruin amenity for thousands of residents along the bypass route and cause significant damage to nature, habitats, agriculture and Aboriginal heritage.

A bypass with tunnels was estimated to cost $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion. When the federal government first announced the bypass project in May at the cost of $1.2 billion, Labor labelled the plan “the El Cheapo bypass” as it was clear that they were cutting costs. We were right.

We want to be known for the rest of this century as Coffs Harbour and not Coffs Canyon.

While we support the Coffs Harbour Bypass in principle as a project, Labor believes it should be done once, done right and done now.

West Connex in Sydney is a $17 billion project, and the majority of it is underground with tunnels. They seem to be able to provide the people of Sydney with quiet neighbourhoods and reduced impacts on nature. Coffs residents should get the same amenity as people in Sydney.

The community should rise against the National Party and fight this shortsighted and half-baked proposal from the federal and state governments. The federal and state government should send Roads and Maritime Services back to the drawing board and order them to come up with a design featuring tunnels and not trenches which minimises the negative impact on residents and the environment.

This is not good enough. Coffs Harbour deserves better.

Ten questions:

  1. The 2016 concept design had three potential tunnels. How many does this have? Zero? One? Two? Three?
  2. How deep or high are the cuttings (trenches/canyons) or land bridges? 10 metres? 50 metres? 75 metres? 100 metres?
  3. Why is noise pollution not mentioned in the brochure?
  4. How far will noise travel eastwards from the bypass over Coffs?
  5. How many houses will require noise treatment? 50? 100? 500? 1,000?
  6. How much will it cost to treat each house impacted by noise pollution? $10k? $20k? $50k? $100k?
  7. What impact will this design have on the value of homes in West Coffs Harbour and Roselands Estate?
  8. What impact will this design have on nature, habitats and wildlife, in particular koalas?
  9. What impact will this design have on the agriculture industry in the area?
  10. What impact will this design have on Aboriginal heritage in the area?

BACKGROUND – 2016 design