Singleton Council will act to formalise the closure of Wallaby Scrub Road after receiving approval in principle from the Department of Industry.
The approval relates to the closure of a 5.99km section of the historical road from the intersection of Putty Road, but excludes a portion of Crown Road adjoining the road corridor.
A long campaign has been fought by the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association and the Friends of Wallaby Scrub Road to prevent its closure and this latest news has been met with disappointment by everyone wanting to keep the road open.
The closure is also conditional that the land is sold to adjoining landholders Warkworth Mining Limited and Miller Pohang Coal Company Pty Limited. The portion of the Crown land will be subject to an application to Crown Lands by the mine to acquire.
Council resolved to proceed with the application to the Minister for Land and Forestry to close the road at an extraordinary meeting in August last year, after hearing from a number of speakers who addressed the meeting during public access.
A report presented to the meeting also included a synopsis of 1 639 submissions as a result of the public exhibition period. General manager Jason Linnane said Council was notifying objectors about the decision the week. “This is a matter that attracted significant community interest and Council appreciated the input form everyone who made a submission during the public exhibition period last year,” he said.
“Council’s role was to consider the merits of the road closure based on its role as a roads authority and did not include consideration of matters relating to mining approvals. “As a result of the approval in principle, Council will now act to continue the formalisation of the road closure, with future reports to be prepared for Council’s consideration regarding the sale of the Wallaby Scrub Road corridor.”
Arrangements are being to made to implement the Wallaby Scrub Road Closure Plan which includes Variable Message Signs to be placed at key locations several weeks before the road is closed to inform drivers. Mr Linnane said Council would negotiate with adjoining landholders in relation to the sale of the land. “Formalising the closure of the road will allow Council to sell the road corridor, which would involve a valuation and negotiation process,” he said. “Proceeds for the sale of the land will be re-invested in the local road network in accordance with the Road Act, 1993.”
Friends of Wallaby Scrub Road spokesman Chris Searle said they continue to argue that it is a breach of law for the Minster for Land and Forestry to close Wallaby Scrub Road without first advertising the proposal under the Roads Act.