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Community

28 May, 2021

Residents’ fears about link road

RESIDENTS who will be most affected by a proposed link road between Trinity Beach and Kewarra Beach are making an impassioned plea for the plan to be reconsidered.


Shantel Watkins and her next door neighbour Calvin Fergie. PHOTO: Tanya Murphy

Two weeks remains for feedback to be submitted to the Cairns Council about their concept plan for a road link between Trinity Beach and Kewarra Beach, which will necessitate the demolition of a state-owned house at 146 Trinity Beach Road.

Shantel Watkins is the leaseholder at the condemned house, and said she had not received any letter or notification about the plan and had only heard about it from neighbours.

“I’m starting to get a lot of anxiety about it,” said the mother of three, part time tourism worker and full-time nursing student.

“Why is it so important now in the middle of a rental crisis, to tear down a house that has a family living in it? Can’t they wait? Can’t they build the road somewhere else?”

When this question was put to Division Nine Councillor Brett Olds, he said under Roads to Recovery Funding the road had to be completed in the 2021-22 financial year, but demolition of the home would not be required until 2022.

“The Department of Transport and Main Roads,s acquired the property more than 20 years ago with the knowledge it would need to be demolished at some stage to allow for this critical link to be constructed,” he said.

Calvin Fergie, homeowner adjacent to the condemned property, said the proposed intersection would see traffic and buses braking, idling and accelerating just nine metres from his living room and he was already losing sleep over it.

“It’s stressing me, it’s putting pressure on my family,” he said.

“I will lose about $50,000 on my house value.

“When cars turn the corner onto the link road their headlights will be shining right into my living room windows.

“It’s going to be very dangerous for me to get in and out of my driveway.”

Councillor Olds said of all alternative routes, the latest proposal would impact the least amount of properties and provide a vital second entry and exit route for Kewarra Beach residents.

“It will reduce congestion on the highway by removing the need to use the Captain Cook Highway to travel from one beach to the other, and improves access to busy community places like Trinity Beach Sporting Precinct and the Trinity Anglican School,” he said.

Trinity Anglican School was ambivalent about the benefits of the road.

“Trinity Anglican School is neither for or against the road changes, however the safety of our students and community is our biggest priority, if the road goes ahead I would presume and expect council to sit down and work closely with us to ensure the safety of our community is not compromised,” said Trinity Anglican School spokesperson Alana Ripepi.

Smithfield resident Trish Merchant is the former president of the Trinity Anglican School ‘Parents and Friends Association’ and made a submission to council last year opposing the road.

“After seven years of being a parent of a child at TAS Kewarra Beach, I believe it’s not a sensible proposal to put that kind of extra traffic past a primary school and into a residential area,” she said.

“The school has been cited as a beneficiary of this project, but the school didn’t ask for it. It will make it harder to get in and out of the carpark, and dangerous for children walking across the road.

“What’s more, after working as a police officer for more than 20 years, I believe this plan will create a road safety issue.

“To have the road link with traffic and buses pulling out onto a dangerous bend in Trinity Beach Road, is just an accident waiting to happen.”

Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said he was not opposed to the idea of interconnecting roads to remove traffic from arterial roads.

“The location and design of this road is a matter for council, but I have been approached by affected residents who are concerned that they have not been properly consulted and feel that it’s been imposed on them,” Minister Crawford said.

Ms Merchant said traffic should be kept on the highway.

“Highways are where traffic needs to be, the highway is designed to handle a large volume of cars – why divert them onto residential streets where there are native wallabies and children?” she said.

“Roads to Recovery money is supposed to be aimed at improving safety, and I believe the money could have been better spent elsewhere.

“Creating slips lanes between Kewarra and Trinity would benefit thousands more residents and reduce the risks to children.”

Trinity Beach resident Chris Bosnjak said they a residents’ petition showed broad community support for a cycle and pedestrian path between the suburbs rather than a road.

The concept plan is available on Council’s website under “works in progress” and feedback can be sent to feedback@cairns.qld.gov.au


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