WHITE St has been heard loud and clear by Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) as the parties came to face to face in the residents’ fight to save their street.
And the controversial road-shrinking project is now up in the air as another meeting with council on their home-turf is scheduled for a later date.
Nearly 50 residents packed into a small meeting room at Challenge Community Services office on the corner of Carthage and White Sts.
The East Tamworth residents took the home-ground advantage and were strident in protests against council’s $1.2 million proposal to upgrade White St’s water and reduce the road’s width by seven metres.
TRC director of regional services Peter Resch fronted the crowd, along with a number of fellow council staff, taking questions and comments for about two hours, with residents championing the street’s old gutters, despite their flaws.
“I love the big gutters,” Mark Woodley told council staff.
“The reason I live in that street is because of the big, ugly gutters.”
While one staffer tried to explain how little the street’s width would be affected by the works, pointing out the travel lanes would be the same width as the any “arterial road in Australia”.
Immediately, one resident hit back, capturing the meeting’s mood when she said “I don’t care about arterial roads in Australia, I live in White St”.
“We’ve heard the message loud and clear: you want to maintain the kerb where it is,” Mr Resch said.
Staff will now take the White St proposal back to council, and there’s no guarantee about what happens next.
Mr Resch told the audience there were three potential outcomes.
The director said council could still go ahead with the plan, or they could choose to fix the middle of the road and move the water main or even do nothing.
Mr Resch was confident councillors would listen to the residents’ protest, telling the jammed-in crowd community engagement was this council’s “number-one priority”.