Tamworth Regional Council candidates for this weekend’s local government election have been asked to indicate just where they stand when it comes to the future of an alternative Calala traffic route and the fate of the King George V Ave trees.
The avenue protection group and the neighbouring Calala community committee have canvassed the eight new candidates contesting tomorrow’s Tamworth poll.
The two groups wanted to know whether the candidates supported the protection and preservation of the old English oak trees that line the avenue, whether they would resist attempts to make it a link road from Calala to the city centre and if they backed investigations into an alternate route from Calala along Goonoo Goonoo Creek to Scott Rd.
“We had a terrific response from the new people and silence from the sitting councillors,” protection group convener Barry John said.
“It was deafening as far as we were concerned.
“But the quality of the responses was thoughtful and considered.”
Seven of the eight new candidates responded to the four-part questionnaire sent out indicating their support, or qualified support and opposition to the points.
All seven gave at least qualified support to retaining the oak tree avenue and six opposed using it as a trunk road for Calala-city traffic.
Calala community development committee president Robin Gardiner said they believed the community had a right to know just where candidates stood on the issues but denied they were seeking to promote any “single-issue” candidates above others.
“We’re not endorsing any candidates. We have taken the initiative,” he said.
“Our concern is not to burn our entree to Tamworth Regional Council because we are a committee of the council and they’ve been very receptive with opportunities for discussions at the highest level.”
But he admitted that the groups believed in the absence of any public forum to introduce candidates to scrutiny, they had a responsibility to ask and obtain information.
Both agreed that the responses were not a mandate for any future action, but purely a guide to how candidates might view the issues now.
Mr John said the fact 14,000 protesters had signed a petition to save the trees, after the threatened axe was suggested in the wake of a residential estate development proposal for Calala, was the catalyst for the candidate survey.