TENTERFIELD’S business group said the development of an economic strategy for the town should be at the forefront of any proposals concerning the Tenterfield bypass.
Last week, NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) called for tenders for the route options.
An RMS spokesperson said there were plans to look at routes both on the eastern and western sides of town.
In a statement, the Tenterfield and District Business Association (TADBA) said the development of a formal economic strategy would help businesses cope with the changes in traffic and better market themselves to visitors.
“Support of small business will be directly relative to provision of continued employment opportunities, promotion of the local retail segment and the development of light industry,” a TADBA spokesperson said.
“All of which will need to be in a sound state to cater for future changes… and give some hope to the younger members of our shire.
“Our community cannot survive in its current form unless a strong economic plan is developed.”
As well as the development of an economic plan, TADBA is also pushing for Tenterfield Shire Council to work to specify that the bypass will be an alternative route for heavy vehicles.
In the brief from RMS, it was not specified that the bypass would be an alternate route for heavy vehicles.
In a letter sent to council in September last year, TADBA said without a clear definition for heavy vehicles, businesses, especially those along Rouse Street and the New England Highway, could lose a large part of their drive-through customer base.
“There is a need to remove the heavy vehicles from our main street [but we are concerned that]… with the alternative route for heavy vehicles we will also lose a percentage of our spending customers which will impact on our trading,” TADBA said.
In response, mayor Toby Smith said as far as he was aware the bypass project was for an alternative route for heavy vehicles.
Cr Smith also agreed with the need for Tenterfield to develop its own economic strategy.
He said that he and general manager Glenn Inglis met with representatives from TADBA last week to discuss the town’s economic prospects.
“We discussed a number of things,” Cr Smith said.
“One of them was about the development of an economic strategy. We also discussed planning issues and a marketing strategy for the industrial estate.
“We need to develop the industries we have here but we also need to look at ways of developing new industries and new opportunities for our town.”
Cr Smith said the economic plan would work in well with the strategic plan the council adopted in July last year.
But TADBA said the council needed to adopt an “overall view” rather than one that involved a host of different individual action plans.