On walking out of the 13 November 2012 Clarence Valley Council Committee Meetings one local resident was of the opinion that the attitude of the dominant clique to requests to replace a section of the Yamba Road Cycleway (which was removed without notice or community consultation) would likely see letters begin to appear in the local media presenting a distorted history of these requests.
It may be a coincidence, but this strangely ill-informed letter to the editor was published in The Daily Examiner on the morning of the 20 November council ordinary monthly meeting:
Leave road alone
CAN someone please explain to me why Clarence Valley Council is considering removing a perfectly good access and median strip in Yamba Rd? My elderly aunt and uncle feel very safe using the new access point on Yamba Rd but now a cyclist (who can ride on the road anyway) wants three cycle paths in the location - one on each side of the road and one on the road - and wants the council to spend more money undoing the great job they just did.
Residents along Yamba Rd near Freeburn St be aware, if this goes through, you are just about the lose your bus stop, street parking and the safe pedestrian access point along Yamba Rd all because the cyclist refuses to use the road, which they are able to do under the laws of the road.
On behalf of my elderly aunt and uncle and the safety of the locals, please just leave it alone.
A direct response to Mr. Wilcox of Grafton (who is a big fan of the mayor*) was not published, but this letter to the editor set out below did make it onto the pages of The Daily Examiner on 23 November 2012:
Nobody suggests the much-needed and absolutely necessary pedestrian refuge crossing recently installed on Yamba Rd at the Freeburn St intersection be removed.
But why has Yamba lost 150m of its Yamba Rd cycleway during construction when there was an abundance of land space available to widen the road and allow the cycleway to continue?
The Yamba Rd cycleway forms part of the regional cycleway that has safely served the community for decades.
The unnecessary loss of the section of cycleway has dangerously exposed cyclists of all ages and ability to the fast-moving heavy Yamba Rd traffic.
The erection of signs diverting all cyclists onto the Yamba Coastal Walkway - now called the "shared use pathway" - has placed the safety of pedestrians at risk.
The coastal walkway was partly funded by the NSW Government ($418,500) and was not designed for prolific cycle usage.
What's more, council is fully aware the pathway does not comply with its own safety standards, thereby deliberately breaching its "duty of care" responsibilities, which are to provide safe public facilities.
The destruction of the Yamba Rd cycleway occurred over six months ago, but still our mayor, Cr Williamson, avoids an explanation.
In fact, the subsequent erection of signage diverting all cyclists onto what is now called a "shared use pathway", knowing the pathway does not comply with council's own safety standards, suggests an attempt to cover up council's mismanagement and waste of public funds.
It's about time Mayor Williamson displayed some courage and provided a public explanation for council's waste of funds.
* With all the numbers in, not only in the Clarence Valley, but on the North Coast, it is worth pointing out that Richie Williamson is the most popular councillor on the North Coast.Not another candidate (or group even) got near the 6975 primary votes that Mr Williamson received.
Mr Williamson has always served our community with our best interest at heart and the community thanked him for this dedication on Saturday.
Congratulations Richie! [John Wilcox 10 September 2012]