The most commonly proposed naming suggestions. Image: CVC

New name for old highway

Geoff Helisma

After about an hour of debate, five of Clarence Valley Council’s (CVC) nine councillors have agreed to adopt ‘Big River Way’ as the new name for the soon to be displaced Pacific Highway between Glenugie and Cameron Street Maclean [Ferry Park].

At last week’s November 26 CVC meeting, Cr Deborah Novak moved an amendment to the officer’s recommendation, to rename the road ‘Breimba Way’, however, she was friendless when it came to the vote.

Subsequently, Cr Karen Toms moved an amendment, nominating ‘Clarence Valley Way’, but her amendment was lost in a split vote – with councillors Toms, Novak, Kingsley and Simmons in favour and Lysaught, Ellem, Baker, Williamson and Clancy opposed.

The same voting pattern supported submitting the council officer’s original recommendation, ‘Big River Way’, as CVC’s preferred option in its submission to the NSW Geographical Names Board (GNB).

“The construction of the new Pacific Highway requires that the existing Pacific Highway and several new assets are named in accordance with the requirements of the NSW Geographical Names Board,” the report to council stated.

The report presented details of CVC’s community consultation on the matter and “recommended that further community consultation is undertaken to establish road names for new or existing roads that are affected by the construction of the new Pacific Highway”.

The council also adopted ‘Serpentine Channel South Bank Road’ for the new section of road that extends from the existing Serpentine Channel South Bank Road to Watts Lane in Harwood.

The council will now “seek suggestions from the community for the naming of the following roads”: the existing Pacific Highway (between Chatsworth Road and Iluka Road roundabout); the existing Harwood Bridge and along the existing Pacific Highway to Andersons Lane; Old Six Mile Lane on the western side of the new freeway connecting to Avenue Road; and, the link road from the existing highway under the new freeway and connecting to Mill Road, Harwood.

Results of the proposed consultation will be tabled at the March 2020 CVC meeting.

Two hundred and ninety-one submissions were made during to the community consultation to rename the old highway.

“One hundred and sixty-six names were unique,” the report to council stated.

“The other 125 names were suggested two or more times.”

The report to council noted some of the most popularly suggested names – Clarence Valley Way, Clarence River Way and Jacaranda Way – “are already used in the region and they may not be supported by the GNB”.

When it came to “suggested road names that recognise the traditional owners” staff pointed out that, despite the nominated names rating “high in number, individually the number of each suggestion is low”.

“Another difficult consideration with this proposal is that the Clarence Valley area consists of three Aboriginal nations and there is no uniform or agreed name to represent all three nations,” the report to council stated.

The GNB specifies the following principles for road naming, summarised as: be unique and not the same as, or similar to, other roads in the region; shall not be duplicated; not exceed three words, including the road type; not cause confusion for emergency services; and not be named after living people or businesses.