WHILE the ongoing upgrade of the Princes Highway and plans for a new third crossing of the Shoalhaven River at Nowra are welcomed, a newly formed villages’ group believes there may be an alternative.
Despite plans to upgrade the highway between Berry and Bomaderry and build the new Nowra bridge, for many years a western bypass of Nowra has been mooted with a river crossing further west upstream from Nowra.
The inaugural meeting of the Shoalhaven Community Villages Action Group has suggested an alternate eastern bypass of Nowra which might open many of the seaside villages up to more tourism opportunities.
It is envisaged an eastern bypass might even provide the Shoalhaven with a coastal drive that could rival the Great Ocean Road drive.
Group member Anne Hollis-Coates said the group had been formed with the view of possibly providing more opportunities for many of the area’s villages.
“The group is open to residents of Shoalhaven Heads, Greenwell Point, Orient Point, Crookhaven, Roseby Park, Culburra Beach, Callala bay and beach, Currarong and Myola,” she said “but residents of other areas would be welcomed.
“The purpose of the meeting was to finalise a submission to Shoalhaven City Council for possible inclusion for Regional Development Australia funding.
“The third crossing at Nowra is nice and a lot of state and federal money is being spent there but honestly what will it do for me or any of the other residents in the outlying villages?
“A lot of our visitors don’t really need to travel through Nowra anyway.
“No one is talking about this as a possible alternative. We just thought we would put it out there as an option.”
She said many of the Shoalhaven coastal villages were unique.
“They have unique landmarks and characteristics, yet we believe we have increasingly been left behind and largely ignored,” she said.
“We represent the ideal location for family friendly vacations for tourists and for people to reside.
“Yet individually we are not realising the kind of managed growth our communities need to maintain their self-contained liveability.”
Ms Hollis-Coates believes alternate connections for the villages is needed.
She believes the area could be like the Central Coast and have many of the outlying, isolated areas, linked by bridges, opening them up to more opportunities.
“We need to build on the tourist and residential connection of the Sea Cliff Bridge,” she said.
“At Shoalhaven Heads there is an ideal connection across to the other side of the river, or a bridge on Bolong Road is another possible site.”
An alternate crossing of the river may also allow links to the likes of Huskisson, Vincentia and the Bay and Basin area, via Myola.
“Connecting up our seaside villages would open them up and offer possible business and employment,” she said.
“Most only have one way in or out. Not everyone wants to travel on a high speed highway. This could provide a coastal drive. A chance of leisurely exploration.
“Our villages have so much to offer like in indigenous sites, historic colonial links, lighthouses, spectacular viewing vantage points, golf courses, wineries.
“Easier access may also encourage residential growth.”
She said the group was not seeking to replace various progress associations or chambers of commerce, rather strengthen their voices and work towards what would benefit all communities by the ripple effect as more tourists see the multiple opportunities to relax and explore while being within reach of Sydney, even for weekend breaks.
The Shoalhaven Community Villages Action Group welcomes suggestions and ideas and can be contacted through PO Box 244, Culburra Beach, NSW 2540.