IT'S BEEN a long time in the coming, but this morning Nambucca Heads received the news that it had been sweating on - two gargantuan picture board destination signs for the town.
The funding commitment announced by local MP and Roads Minister Melinda Pavey will see Nambucca Heads along with other towns bypassed by new highways receive the striking signage.
The enticing photo signage has been a pet project of Mrs Pavey - and it has already been rolled out to Macksville, Holbrook and Berry.
The Member for Oxley said she had wanted to secure similiar signage for towns like Nambucca Heads, only to be told "you can't just do that, Minister. There has to be a pilot otherwise you could end up in ICAC".
So there was a 12-month trial of the signage at towns like Macksville to assess the impact on tourism and local business.
"Macksville has never been busier, it's like Urunga," Mrs Pavey observed of the post-bypass world.
And the trial was a test of patience for the Nambucca Heads and Valla Chamber of Commerce, who were at the forefront of lobbying for a wider rollout of the signage.
"When I saw the signage for Macksville I was delighted, but I also asked 'where are our signs'," chamber president Christian Knight said.
"But Melinda (Pavey) explained the process so that gave us some clarity and assurance - and today I am ecstatic to see her deliver again for our local community."
Mrs Pavey said it was now back to the community of Nambucca Heads to suggest the image best suited to promote the town to highway travellers.
"But this is probably the money shot," she said of the V-Wall, where the statewide program was announced. "For Urunga, it will be the boardwalk."
Mr Knight agreed, noting an aerial shot of the Nambucca river mouth and immediate tributaries would provide a point of difference for Nambucca Heads - "given the extraordinary colours of the aqua waters and white sand".
Nambucca Heads will receive two signs - one each for north and south-bound traffic, and Mrs Pavey said she hoped they would be installed near the service centre in the space of months.
She said Kempsey would also receive new signs, as would Port Macquarie, which was bypassed in 1961.
Twenty-one destinations across NSW will qualify, and it is an expensive venture, as Mrs Pavey said each sign at Macksville had cost north of $100,000.
"But in bang for the buck, I am certain this signage will deliver significantly for local business and the tourism sector which is so integral at Nambucca Heads," Mr Knight said.
Mrs Pavey: “I know from the locals of Macksville the moment that bypass town sign was erected, more people stopped by for a sticky-beak. It’s good for local cafes, restaurants and community as a whole.”
The launch at the V-Wall:
The first stage of the project will be rolled out along the Princes and Pacific highways, including:
• Pacific Highway – Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah, Mullumbimby, Brunswick Heads, Bangalow, Woodburn/Broadwater/Wardell, Maclean, Grafton, Woolgoolga, Urunga, Nambucca Heads, Kempsey/Frederickton, Port Macquarie, Taree, Bulahdelah, Karuah.
Princes Highway – Gerringong, Kiama, Shell Harbour, Bega, Albion Park.
Towns like Scone, Albion Park Rail, Grafton, Woodburn and Broadwater that are soon to be bypassed will also be eligible to have the new signage.