BREAKING NEWS: Members of the Herons Creek community met with NSW Road Minister Duncan Gay today to express their concern over the closure of Miles Drive.
Here's how the story came about....
FEELINGS are running high in the normally quiet hamlet of Herons Creek over the looming closure of an important access road in the community.
As part of the Herons Creek to Stills Road upgrade of the Pacific Highway, not only will the Herons Creek Road intersection with the highway be closed off - but access from the village to Miles Drive will be ended as well.
Miles Drive is an access road running parallel to the highway from the Bartlett “egg farm” to Herons Creek Road.
Miles Drive - locals call it Miles Road - will still be there but access to it from Herons Creek Road will be cut off and, to the local residents, it makes no sense.
A petition to “Stop the pending closure of Miles Road from Herons Creek Road” attracted 100 signatures on September 8 outside the council election local polling booth, with only two people unwilling to support the petition on the day, the Courier was told.
Organisers plan to present the petition to the Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams, because the road closure is a part of the Roads and Maritime Services (formerly RTA) highway upgrade project. The issue was also due to be raised with new Port Macquarie-Hastings Mayor Peter Besseling at a weekend meeting.
Local residents the Courier spoke to have no problem with the closure of the Herons Creek Road-Pacific Highway intersection - it’s “an accident waiting to happen” Bill Boyd said - but they can see no sense in closing off access to Miles Drive.
Under the upgrade a new service road will connect Herons Creek with the Pacific Highway via a new Bago Road intersection, which makes sense to local residents, even though it means they will have to travel north to Bago Road to get on to the highway’s southbound lanes.
What they are unhappy about is having to use the highway for local travel instead of the existing, perfectly good road they have.
For instance, for someone who lived at Herons Creek on the western side of the highway “and you were going to the egg farm, you’d have to go all the way to the Bago Road intersection, then go nearly all the way to Kew, and then do a U-turn, cross the road and the come back again, just to get to the egg farm.
“For school kids, I don’t know how they’re going to get buses in and out of that road because it will be closed,” said Martin Parish, pastor of the Herons Creek Heritage Community Chapel.
“I think it’s to stop all of us people - and there’s 50 homes just in this street, apart from the hinterland - from using this (Miles Drive) to go south,” turning right on to the highway at the turn-off to Walkers Creek, Betty Boyd said.
But that could be solved by making it illegal to turn right there, Martin Parish said.
“A ‘no right turn’ sign there would solve that problem,” Bill Boyd said.
The planned road closure “really is dividing our community up - and it’s already divided enough,” Pastor Parish said. “And it’s just not common sense.”
“And the other thing is,” Bill Boyd said, “why dig up a perfectly good piece of road?’
Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams arranged for Herons Creek residents to meet with NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay yesterday, during his visit to the region. Outcome of this meeting, next week.