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17 June, 2021

Bypass road: Everyone will benefit says chair

A FEW weeks ago the Kuranda Bypass road steering committee held its public meeting in Mareeba where attendees unanimously agreed upon the presented resolution.

By Michael Warren

A FEW weeks ago the Kuranda Bypass road steering committee held its public meeting in Mareeba where attendees unanimously agreed upon the presented resolution. 

As the next public meeting about the bypass road nears in Cairns, Express journalist Michael Warren went one on one with committee chairman Ken Harley about many different aspects of the much talked about proposal. 

Ken, what’s been the public sentiment about the matter since the Mareeba meeting on June 1? 

I have had many discussions with various stakeholders since the meeting.

There is a lot of interest in the bypass road being constructed from people of all walks of life, whether they be based in Cairns or The Tablelands.

The construction and establishment of the road stands to have many benefits. 

They might be from the agricultural, mining, tourism or transport sectors but each individual has a real vested interest in something like the bypass being constructed. 

In Cairns, it would fasten up travel time from the suburbs into the city. In saying that I’m very conscious and extremely respectful of the Redlynch side of the argument as well – I really need to reiterate that. 

We aim to be as transparent and open as possible, and if things have not come across the way, we definitely apologise for that. 

I say to the Redlynch residents please be patient, you’ll have an opportunity to voice your thoughts, opinions, feelings and points of view at our Cairns meeting on June 29. 

We openly welcome your input and we 100% value your thoughts and how we can achieve the best outcome for all concerned. 

Ken, rightly or wrongly, yourself and the steering committee have faced criticism from some quarters that you haven’t been as consultative or transparent about your bypass proposal with the Redlynch community. What’s your reaction to claims about the lack of transparency?

 I can say on record that we are a small volunteer group who are absolutely doing our best to keep everyone up to date with things. 

That includes updating and responding to questions and enquiries on our Facebook page – I might not get back to everyone in a timely manner, but I definitely read and note comments and try to respond as much as I possibly can to people. 

 I value every comment and appreciate all pieces of feedback that we continually receive about the project. What’s your message to Redlynch residents ahead of the meeting? 

My message is please come along; we can’t wait to chat with everyone about it. Also, as we’ve said numerous times we will not be knocking houses down or putting extra traffic on the intake road. 

There has also been online chatter about the bypass road increasing traffic on the intake road – this would not be the case. Remember this is only one of many proposals that have been put to government. 

Further to the upcoming meeting in Cairns, if the resolution doesn’t receive a unanimous vote, what is the general process after that? 

The Cairns meeting will follow the same process as we had in Mareeba. 

So, the steering committee will put a resolution to the those at the meeting. From there, it goes to the people.

That is, we ask if anyone wants to alter, change, debate or reconsider the resolution that has been put forward. 

Then whatever we arrive at will get voted on. It may well be we have two separate resolutions to put before parliament. 

It must be remembered, just like in Mareeba, the voting figures will be made public. It’s a public process. 

It’s also important to note the steering committee can only recommend a resolution, they can’t determine what the outcome of that resolution will be – that will be left to public vote.   

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