A BOMADERRY couple who will be most impacted by a series of recently released concept plans to try to solve congestion at the intersection of Illaroo Road and the Princes Highway, say they have never been consulted.
John and Cheryl Bryce’s home is right on the intersection with the plans set to cut through their property.
They said the first they heard of the “unbelievable plans” was on the radio and when an article appeared in the South Coast Register on Monday.
Four generations of Bryces have farmed the location yet they have never heard about the plans that were developed for Shoalhaven City Council by consultants SMEC in 2007.
The proposals include massive flyovers which would cut through their dairy farm and possibly their house.
“We have never heard anything about these latest plans,” Mr Bryce said.
“We have had no consultation what so ever.”
Mr Bryce said he felt his family, which has lived in the area for many years and had been involved in a host of community groups and activities, deserved better.
“Many of the people who would have known about these plans we have known for years not only politically but also as friends yet it has never been raised with us,” he said.
“The fact we heard about it on the radio and in the paper is the most disappointing thing.
“We keep hearing about consultation – what consultation? There is no consultation, it’s a joke.
“Mayor Gash was quoted in the paper as saying, ‘They are only proposals and on display for the community to have a look at and comment’ – well, wouldn’t you think they might have spoken to us first?
“We don’t want it to go out to comment, we don’t want it to get that far, it shouldn’t happen. I feel really let down.”
Mrs Bryce said they couldn’t believe it when they heard the proposal.
“We jumped on a website and had a look at the plans and it just cuts straight through our farm and even our house,” she said.
Mr Bryce said the proposal would not only destroy their home but take away their livelihood of the working farm.
“This area floods but this proposal looks to take all the high country on the farm where our house is built and where the farm sheds are and the higher ground where we can keep the cows when floods do come,” he said.
“If we lose all this, we lose everything.
“It would destroy our livelihood.
“We are the people who will be most affected yet seem to be the last in the pecking order as far as finding out about it,” Mrs Bryce said.
Although the couple stopped dairying back in December 2005 they have continued to operate their farm, breeding beef cattle and have also started growing fodder for other farmers around the district.
They said these plans have caused them considerable heartache.
“It’s affecting us. Our future is up in the air, what if council or the government decides to go ahead with this, where to do we go, what do we do?” Mrs Bryce said.
And the worries for the couple may not be over.
With calls being made for the proposed third crossing of the river to include the capability of carrying a railway line, the couple may have to deal with that issue as well, as the current lines ends adjacent to their property in Bomaderry.
“Where will [the railway line] go if they ever extend it?” Mrs Bryce said.
Not long after learning about the proposal the couple were contacted about placing political signs in their famous block on the corner of Bolong Road and the Princes Highway.
“I just laughed at the person on the phone and said, ‘Do you think I am a fool?’” Mr Bryce said.
“Why would I allow that considering what the bureaucrats are considering doing to my farm?”