Nambucca Shire Council to represent Valla residents over highway noise petition

The highway noise report committee. From Left: AECOM representative Patrick Martinez, Pacific Highway general manager Bob Higgins, project structural engineer, Senior project manager Yvonne Bowles, and Environment manager Scott Lawrence.
The highway noise report committee. From Left: AECOM representative Patrick Martinez, Pacific Highway general manager Bob Higgins, project structural engineer, Senior project manager Yvonne Bowles, and Environment manager Scott Lawrence.

There has been a lot of noise from Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) about looking into Valla complaints of excessively high sound levels from the new highway.

But recently, residents were astounded to find that a more than 700 signature petition organised by the Valla Beach Community Association had been rejected.

The petition was submitted by Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey to the parliament’s Table Office on September 20, where it was determined that there were less than 500 compliant signatures.

Petitions with more than 500 signatures can expect a written response from the minister associated (in this case being Melinda Pavey, herself), but those that fall short of the magic number do not require any further action.

And the Valla Beach Community Association is yet to receive an explanation about the rejection from the Table Office.

This is a pretty ordinary response, or rather lack of response, from RMS-- you just can’t talk to these people.

Councillor John Ainsworth

So council is now throwing its weight behind the issue.

At its last meeting in Burrapine, council passed a motion to seek clarification about the petition from the Table Office and Minister Pavey on behalf of its residents.

The motion also sets out to find “how RMS can claim that they have met their acoustic requirements in the Valla district when data from key monitoring stations were totally discarded” and another set omitted completely.

Council is also trying to ascertain whether an experimental concrete-grinding technique which has successfully dampened sound along the Hunter Expressway will be brought to Valla too, as per the minister’s recommendation.

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“We should pursue this with some vigour,” councillor Brian Finlayson said.

With only two weeks remaining before the Macksville bypass is set to open there are fears that more of the Shire’s residents may soon be facing the same David versus Goliath battle.

“I’m concerned about Macksville when that section opens,” mayor Rhonda Hoban said.

“Apparently the noise has a tendency to travel along the river.”

“And in fog conditions the noise is amplified, and Macksville is prone to fog.”