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Community

21 May, 2021

Council's new bid to squeeze the road link through

THE Cairns Regional Council’s latest revised concept plan for a road link between Trinity Beach and Kewarra Beach was mailed to a select group of 261 residents last month, prompting renewed protests from the plan’s opponents.


Next-door neighbour Calvin Fergie (right) has painted a sign to raise awareness about the location of the link road, which will see Shantel Watkins (left) and her three children evicted

The new concept plan, now available on the council’s website under “works in progress,” will necessitate the demolition of a state-owned house at 146 Trinity Beach Road, and eviction of a family with three children, but will spare the adjacent homes.

In December last year a council spokesperson told Cairns Local News that two houses would need to be demolished to make space for the road, but one of the affected families who built their home 42 years ago, long before any link road was planned, said they were determined not to give up their home.

After Cairns Local News highlighted their story, council cancelled the plan to acquire their house, but are now forging ahead with a revised plan to squeeze the road through a 17 metre-wide single block at number 146, with construction set to begin in the 2021-22 financial year.

In the letter to residents last month, Infrastructure Planning Manager Helius Visser said council welcomed community feedback on the plan but said the official consultation period was finished in September last year.

“The consultation held last year was for a totally different concept plan linking Miami Road with Cayley Street and Baler Street, and we defeated that proposal by obtaining 429 petition signatures, 161 generic submissions and 319 online submissions against a road link of any sort between the suburbs, compared with 268 submissions supporting the road,” said Trinity beach resident Chris Bosnjak.

“For council to then say the outcome of that consultation was that the community wants them to put the link through 146 Trinity Beach Road instead, is a huge stretch. That wasn’t the outcome of the consultation at all.

“The petition stated against any link road in its entirety!”

P&E Law were engaged to help with the campaign and stated in their submission to council that the road would channel up to 6000 extra cars per day onto residential roads frequented by school children and native wallabies, although council made much lower predictions.

Mr Bosnjak questioned why only 261 residents received letters inviting feedback on the latest concept plan when more than 12,300 residents living in the two suburbs would be affected.

When this question was put to Division Nine Councillor Brett Olds he said only the residents in close vicinity to the project were sent letters.

“A road connection between Trinity Beach and Kewarra Beach has been included in the Local Government Infrastructure Plan and other documentation for more than 20 years,” he said.

“The community has been kept informed of the progress of this link and there have been many opportunities for impacted residents to provide feedback, which has informed Council’s decisions.

“For example, in 2016-17, Council undertook consultation on the Trinity Beach Sporting Precinct Master Plan, which included connecting Miami Road directly to Trinity Beach Road. The plan was adopted by Council in 2018.

“There was also consultation as part of the Northern Beaches Community Facilities Strategy (2017) and again the following year as part of the ‘Have Your Say on the Northern Beaches Master Plan’ (2018).”

During the last council election in March 2020, Cr Olds also stated one of his top priorities as “trying to get the Miami Road link through in this term of Council,” a promise he printed and circulated widely on the front page of a flyer and his social media pages.

Residents have been holding regular stalls outside the local Night Owl to offer information and gather signatures for a new petition against the link road.

Council has extended the ‘feedback’ period by two weeks, to June 11, after concerted campaigning by the group, and feedback can be sent to feedback@cairns.qld.gov.au.


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