Welcome to this week’s editorial and welcome to 2019. While we are still in peak “Tourist Season” it might be a good time to reflect on where we are all going. No doubt the powers that be will be doing a debrief of summer and the impacts to the region inflicted by the sheer volumes of visitors who enjoy our coastline. The Water people will be assessing the demand, looking at Deep Creek, calculating and preparing a report that calls on more funding for the proposed Tuross River Dam. The Sewer people will also be looking at the capacity of our sewerage systems and ponds and trying to figure how they will be able to expand for the thousands who are projected to be coming in the decades ahead. The Roads people will be looking very closely at the Kings Highway/ Princes Highway intersection and trying to determine if the temporary lollipop traffic controllers they put in place improved or hindered. Locally the council engineers will be looking at the considerable traffic log jams that occurred in Batemans Bay and Moruya and look at the social media feeds that showed considerable displeasure and frustration by locals as to the impacts that the summer influx of traffic made on their lives. Of particular interest should be the two “rat run” that “bypass” the Moruya township traffic crawl. Locals, and those in the know, have always used these rat run however with modern day GPS all anyone needs to do is hit “Alternate Route” to find yourself skirting around the Moruya township via back streets. There will no doubt be a sigh of relief by those who protest dogs on beaches contrary to signs, the local fisher folk will sigh at the return to quiet waterways that are not trashed by baitbags, cast off lines and garbage. The sheer numbers of visitors we have in summer are presently restricted to a few short weeks and many will say “Just suck it in. They are only here for a few weeks and then gone again and they bring with them vital tourism dollars”. But it is time for us to grow up and not just be a tourism location that kowtows to the tourist dollar and sees us “suck in” the garbage and the selfishness that is so openly displayed by visitors who treat us as subservient to their mighty $$$$. We are at a turning point with half a million Canberrans at our doorstep, with Sydney only three or so hours away and further improvements to the Princes Highway to come that makes us central to Sydney and Melbourne. We are on the cusp of gaining a Regional Hospital. Combine that with other projects and this region is about to take on half a billion dollars in employment generation. Once it is all built they will come …. and continue to come. There is a dream being voiced of a divided road from Jervis Bay to the Victorian border. Eden port is expanding, B-doubles, industry, investment and all the while the notion of us being sleepy Pelican Point, that comes alive a few times a year to pander to tourism needs, will go by and we will become less reliant on the peaks and troughs of business that presently keep us alive over the year. But what we need is visionaries. It is hoped that those who are charged with debriefing the traffic, the dogs, the garbage, the water and the impacts of summer can see into the future and realise that the “summer period” we endure will become the future if they fail to anticipate or act.
Until next Lei