OPINION: Can we save Grandpa’s Scrub?

DEAR News Of The Area,

27 years ago I stood head to toe with the then RTA Project Engineer on the edge of a recently discovered 20m diameter patch of the endangered and very rare Scented Acronychia (Anacronychia littoralis) near Chinderah, just south of Tweed Heads.

The problem was we were also standing in the centre of the proposed alignment of the Chinderah Bypass, an early stage of the upgrade of the Pacific Highway.

After a sympathetic hearing and an obvious recognition of the conservation values at risk the engineer then pointed to the north and said “but the problem is we already have bridge footings poured 200m to the north”, then turned and pointed to the south and said “we also have footings for an overpass poured on the route 200m to the south”.

At that point I realised it was time to capitulate and negotiate the next best option, that was to have all the Scented Acronychia carefully dug up and replanted on the adjacent road reserve.

It all came back to me on Saturday when I visited ‘Grandpa’s Scrub’, a small patch of endangered lowland rainforest at risk from the final stage of the Pacific Highway upgrade, the Coffs Harbour Bypass.

Whilst relocation of services has commenced for the Bypass, construction will not start until the new year.

Hence, there are not yet any bridge footings or other hard obstacles to a minor realignment needed to save the entirety of Grandpa’s Scrub.

In fact, the road design only exists as a computer construct in one of the TfNSW computers and as some preliminary pegs in the ground.

A couple of strokes of the keyboard could redesign the Bypass to completely avoid Grandpa’s Scrub.

If Grandpa’s Scrub were to be saved, and given another life as a nature reserve, it would compete strongly with Muttonbird Island as the closest nature reserve to the centre of town.

It would join Susan and Bellingen Islands and Coramba Nature Reserve as the only remaining reserves in the region of this once extensive lowland rainforest – and it would be the most accessible.

It is a great opportunity for the TfNSW to bring its computer to the gathering and sit down with all key stakeholders and explore the options and possibilities.

I strongly suspect there could be quite a few winners from such a process.

Ashley LOVE,
Coffs Harbour.

One thought on “OPINION: Can we save Grandpa’s Scrub?

  1. Thanks for your commentary Ashley. As ever you have highlighted the need to save a precious and irreplaceable tract of Bushland at Grandpa’s Scrub. You point out the plan could be altered with the stroke of a pen. Coffs Harbour people please Speak up to save this precious habitat.

Leave a Reply