From Leslie Williams MP: Take orbital road off the table

Not viable: Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams wants the "most viable" orbital road option dumped.

Not viable: Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams wants the "most viable" orbital road option dumped.

Last week I called on Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to take their proposed Orbital Road plans off the table.

My concerns on the 'most viable route' identified by Council for the proposed Orbital Road have been vindicated by a response from the Minister for the Environment Matt Kean.

I recently wrote to Minister Kean on behalf of residents who had consistently raised concerns about the proposed Orbital Road in Port Macquarie and in particular the environmental impacts on the Lake Innes Nature Reserve.

Minister Kean has confirmed in writing that there are many environmental constraints that would impede any route that would dissect the Lake Innes Nature Reserve.

The National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) has previously written to council to highlight the Nature Reserve's outstanding natural and cultural values including koala habitat and corridors.

NPWS has identified that the proposed corridor would separate the Reserve's northern most section which contains important koala habitat and corridors and would also increase the risk of weed and pest species.

The Nature Reserve is home to a huge number of flora and fauna species which would be wiped out if the road went ahead.

Council is well aware of the requirements for the revocation of land reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act (NPW Act) which states that lands reserved under the Act will generally only be revoked as a last resort and where no other practical options are available. Only the NSW Parliament can decide if land reserved under the NPW Act can be revoked.

I am also deeply concerned about the significant impacts the proposed Orbital Road is having on the health of residents within the investigation corridor and certainly appreciate the stress and anxiety they are facing.

While Council is focussing on the very unpopular proposed Orbital Road other community infrastructure projects are not being funded including overdue upgrades to local sports fields, road improvements and footpath/cycleway construction.

I again call on Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to immediately take their identified 'most viable route' off the table and work on delivering already planned road improvements.