THE founder of a scheme aimed at “unlocking the gridlock” for musicians during the country music festival has criticised council’s hardline new stance on CDB traffic movements during this month’s event.
Under the sweeping changes to the traffic management plan, council will slash the number of vehicles allowed to enter closed roads and restrict access time for permit holders.
The new rules, aimed at improving pedestrian safety, even restrict drivers with tenancy permits from accessing their own roads between 6pm and midnight daily. Local musician Lawrie Minson, who introduced a “gold card” scheme three years ago to allow musos use of golf carts to move equipment between venues, said the changes were courting chaos.
“Pedestrian safety is important but if they’re going to create new restrictions, they also have to create an alternative to allow musicians to get in and out,” Mr Minson said.
“There’s no point just locking the place up.” He said while he was likely to bring back a scaled-down version of the gold card this year, council had missed an opportunity to run the scheme itself.
“I suggested in July that council take it over and they didn’t even bother replying to me,” he said.
“I’ve created a good model; it worked extremely well.”
But other road users have welcomed the new festival traffic changes.
Tamworth Taxis director Greg Rowland said council had worked tirelessly to find a workable solution for cabbies, who will continue to operate from a central taxi pick-up point on Brisbane St, near Ray White Real Estate.
“Council has been very co-operative and thoughtful about the need for planning and to work with police, especially with regard to the late- night revellers,” Mr Rowland said.
“The country music event is now a hallmark event with governmental status and the consequences of this means the organising goes far beyond Tamworth.
“We just want everyone to consider, especially those who will be affected by the change, it’s not been done to hurt them, it’s just that pedestrian safety is considered a paramount thing.”
Two local couriers contacted by The Leader also said the new changes would not unduly impact them.