Coffs Harbour City Council General Manager Steve McGrath.
Coffs Harbour City Council General Manager Steve McGrath. Rachel Vercoe

Fraser slammed for 'false' bypass comments by council

CLAIMS Coffs Harbour City Council has been uncooperative in assisting Roads and Maritime Services display information on the proposed Coffs Harbour bypass are completely false according to general manager Steve McGrath.

Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser made the claims in the media this week.

He had committed to the permanent display, after criticism of the lack of public consultation was raised at a community meeting on the issue on October 11 and suggested council chambers would be an appropriate venue.

The Advocate attempted to confirm if the display would go ahead and received this response from a council representative.

'As the Highway is not our road-it is the NSW Government's, specifically the responsibility of the RMS-we won't be creating a display as we don't have the concept designs, plans, reports etc.'

He tabled this response in State Parliament saying he would contact the Roads Minister to find an alternative venue.

But Mr McGrath insists the council has been: "very proactive in trying to facilitate Mr Fraser's request."

"We contacted Roads and Maritime Services on numerous occasions asking for the display information to be supplied to us, and offering to assist in any way to help display this information in council's customer service centre," Mr McGrath said.

"Brochures supplied by Roads and Maritime Services have been on display in our customer service centre since mid-October. This week we finally received further display material from Roads and Maritime Services which was immediately placed on display."

"This information will remain on permanent display in our customer service centre for as long as Roads and Maritime Services require it to be on exhibition. It needs to be stressed that the Coffs Harbour Highway Bypass project is an RMS / State Government project, it is not a council project; however council has offered and will assist."

"This is a significant project for our city and as such should have a robust community engagement framework. Given this is a State Government project I encourage Mr Fraser to explore other options for community engagement on the project including manned displays where the community's questions can be answered by qualified staff."