A sense of dread looms over Hyams Beach villagers when they look towards the unseasonably hot summer that has been forecast for the region.
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They do not dread the heat.
They fear being trapped in the village, unable to escape due to traffic congestion, while fire ravages surrounding national parks.
On Tuesday night, in a compelling deputation to Shoalhaven Council, Hyams Beach Villagers Association president Mark Crowther warned councillors of the imminent threat posed by heavy traffic in peak season, and urged them to fund a practical, long-term solution.
“Current predictions are for a long, hot summer and I need not remind you of what happened in Tathra with catastrophic fires there early in the year,” Mr Crowther said.
“By sheer luck, no lives were lost. I dread to think what would happen at Hyams Beach.
“We all know where it is. The bad fires come from the northwest, there have been some bad ones from the south. It will be catastrophic when it happens.”
Mr Crowther said many thousands of visitors and residents were at risk on days like Easter Sunday, where 3000 cars circled 525 car spaces.
A number of solutions posed by council, including diverting traffic one-way around the village, have not passed the pub test in Hyams Beach.
“We believe it’s pointless and costly to try and solve the problems with a few extra parking spaces and a permanent one-way system,” he said.
“This one-way system will still require the presence of traffic controllers on peak days; after three trials we know drivers disregard signs and go in the wrong direction. We have consistently argued cars must be stopped from entering the village (on the Naval College Road, Booderee Ave corner) once parking is at capacity.”
Following the deputation all councillors voted that council:
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