Former councillor’s message to Andrew Gee: stop criticising and fix the road

NOT HELPING: Former councillor Bob Curran says failures of state and federal governments to adequately fund the Northern Distributor Road have led to its condition. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0810ndr2ANDREW Gee needs to stop criticising Orange City Council’s efforts on the Northern Distributor Road and start gathering some funds, according to a former councillor.

Bob Curran served on the council in 1983-87 and 1991-95 when it successfully lobbied the state government to lay concrete through Summer Street and Bathurst Road.

He said preparation was already underway for the NDR in 1981 and land was purchased, but when the state and federal government funding finally came, it was not enough.

“It wasn’t until John Davis, I must admit, and he got it done and got the north part of Orange developed and jobs with Finemores and Woolworths and that’s good, but to do the job properly to carry the trucks it’s carrying, it’s got to be two to three feet deep,” he said.

“It wasn’t done properly, but that’s because it wasn’t funded. It’s a catch 22.”

Mr Curran said he was disappointed in the member for Orange’s comments last week, which referred to the NDR as the Violet Crumble and a council responsibility, with nothing to do with the state government.

“It annoys me to see the local member not helping the situation,” he said.

“We should have a member for Orange to chase the money.”

He recalled Summer Street had been a problem for the council when a long drought ended in the 1970s.

“The rain came and it fell to pieces,” he said.

“It was a great expense they went to, but it’s paid off because it has a long life.”

Mr Curran said resurfacing work now occurred with ease at night, without most residents ever noticing, and he believed roads would continue to crumble if nothing was done.

“Our forebears built a glorious town, but unfortunately they built it on Blackmans Swamp and to do it properly you’ve got to put concrete on the heavy roads,” he said.

Last week Mr Gee, who is also the parliamentary secretary for regional roads, declined to comment further on his remarks.

Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay has also been approached for comment.

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