Calls for City of Coffs Harbour to take action on Woolgoolga’s Whale Trail project

The Woolgoolga community is hoping for the completion of an iconic whale trail. Photo: Ray Willing.

KEVIN Hogan, the Federal Member for Page, announced $1.1 million in funding four years ago to build an iconic Whale Trail project for Woolgoolga.

The project was to include pedestrian access, viewing platforms, car parking, seating and picnic shelters, landscaping and revegetation, and a fitness node.

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Mr Hogan, and others, are growing increasingly frustrated that the project is yet to begin.

“Woolgoolga has been waiting years for this iconic project to be completed, and I call on Council to give the community what it wants,” Mr Hogan said.

“The community shouldn’t have to wait or compromise with this project – Council should build it as it was proposed.”

State Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh has also expressed his frustrations, citing safety concerns.

“Hundreds of locals and tourists enjoy walking around our headland every day, all year round, and especially during the whale watching season.

“But there remains serious safety concerns of pedestrians sharing the road with cars until this project is completed.”

At the City of Coffs Harbour’s June 8 meeting, Councillors unanimously agreed to continue with the design approved in 2022 and urged Council staff to proceed with urgency on an environmental impact statement.

Councillor Tony Judge raised concerns about the delay in starting work on the Whale Trail.

He described the delays as “embarrassing”, noting that the project was first mooted in 2016 and funded in 2019.

Cr Judge was particularly unhappy that there had been no progress on the last twelve months, despite a Council resolution in April 2022 that finalised the design.

“It will benefit our lifestyle and our local economy should benefit from increased tourism as visitors are drawn to the headland,” Cr Judge said after the meeting.

“However, the biggest benefit will be the separation of cars and pedestrians at a very dangerous corner.

“We will all breathe more easily when cars and pedestrians are no longer sharing the road at that spot.”

Spokesperson for the Northern Beaches Residents Association (NBRA), Ray Willing, said, “The Chamber of Commerce and the NBRA support the intention of the draft resolution known as Option C 1 as part of the full Whale Trail.

“The Chamber and the NBRA will be publishing a composite plan of the full Whale Trail from start to finish (Composite Plan).

“The Composite Plan will include Option C, material published by Council in April 2021 as amended by Option C and by the agreement reached with Council staff on June 15 2022 following Council’s first decision on Option C in April 2022.

“The Chamber and the NBRA are sure the community overall are grateful for the outstanding support of Councillors Judge, Swan, Pryce and Townley in particular who were supported by all of their colleagues.

“We also acknowledge the strong and continued support of our Federal and State Shadow Ministers of Tourism, Kevin Hogan and Gurmesh Singh.”

Mr Singh said it was vital to ensure the Woolgoolga community gets “the tourist attraction it deserves” in order to support the growth of the local economy and create jobs.

“We’re calling on Council to build an iconic tourist attraction, not just a footpath,” Mr Singh said.

By Andrew VIVIAN

One thought on “Calls for City of Coffs Harbour to take action on Woolgoolga’s Whale Trail project

  1. Waste of money. I walk/jog that route regularly. Cars are very careful and respectful along it.

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