Protect Koala Habitat at Roberts Hill - Walking Tracks NOT Roads

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Recently a suggestion has been put forward to create an off ramp from the proposed new Pacific highway bypass of Coffs Harbour; with a feeder road crossing Roberts Hill to a proposed lookout and carpark with a partial view of the Coffs Basin and Pacific Ocean. The reasoning is that the lookout will attract highway tourists to Coffs Harbour despite the highway by-pass. This concept is flawed in economic, environmental and social terms and there is an obvious alternative that would provide better outcomes.

Roberts Hill is a Reserve located to the south of Coramba road in West Coffs, managed by Coffs Harbour City Council. Most importantly, this reserve and adjacent reserves, form part of a Koala Habitat Corridor that links to the mapped Koala habitat in the Boambee Valley.  Restoration of these reserves has been undertaken over the past four years with funding from NSW Environmental Trust and Jalliigiirr Biodiversity Alliance. 

Apart from the disturbance and dislocation caused to our rapidly-dwindling Koala population by the proposal, there is no infrastructure at Roberts Hill. Due to the topography, there will be huge economic costs involved in creating an off ramp, a 2 km road through pristine koala habitat and a carpark at the Roberts Hill site, for very little benefit with regards to existing infrastructure and quality of the view from the proposed outlook site. 

An alternative site is available, with infrastructure already in place, located near the already planned off-ramp at Bruxner Park.

Sealy Lookout at Bruxner Park has recently had major infrastructure installed, including parking facilities, specifically to attract tourists and contains the following attractions:

o   the Sky Walk, with astounding views over Coffs and all the way south to Picket Hill near Nambucca, the ocean & Solitary Islands are in clear view

o   Café run by local indigenous business

o   Tree top walk

o   Rainforest Walks

Sealey Lookout already has significant infrastructure and is close to the proposed Bruxner Park interchange for the new highway. The only cost involved would be highway signage for tourists. RMS could be approached to assist with upgrading of Bruxner Park Road.

This would free up financial resources that could be allocated towards the provision of tunnels rather than large cuttings for the Coffs Harbour highway bypass. This is of high importance as with the natural amphitheatre of the Coffs Basin, cuttings will result in a constantly noisy ‘reverberating’ Coffs Harbour.

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