The heartbroken mother of Moruya teen Chris Brice knows that a shared pathway between the Princes Highway and South Head Beach won’t bring her son back, but she says it could save someone else’s life.
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Friends, family and supporters turned out to hear Ms Brice speak at a public meeting on Tuesday night.
“Thank you to everyone for attending tonight,” Ms Brice said. “It reminds me of how people rallied around us when Chris died.”
Chris, who would have turned 19 on Sunday, was walking to a party with five friends on August 8 last year when he was hit by a car.
“Chris had a lift to the party that night but the girls didn’t,” Ms Brice said. “He did the gentlemanly thing and walked with them.”
According to Ms Brice, Chris is not the only person to have died on South Head Road.
“There have been other deaths, injuries and close calls,” she said.
“I don’t want any family to have to go through what we have.”
Project 08/08/08 was formed by friends of the Brice family and calls for the completion of the Moruya South Head cycle/pathway.
Armed with nearly 2000 signatures - and with the support of the Moruya South Head Pathway committee - the Project 08/08/08 committee told those gathered that something had to be done.
“Before another death or injury occurs,” Ms Brice said.
Eurobodalla Roads and Recreation manager Warren Sharpe attended the meeting. He says council will put up $50,000 from its 2009/10 budget and accept $50,000 from the RTA for the construction of a shared pathway between the Princes Highway and Keightley Street.
Council will also assist Moruya South Head Pathway volunteers to continue the existing South Head pathway from Headland Grove to the Anchorage.
“The volunteers are also interested in looking at a specific length of road between Native Way and the caravan park,” he said. “So we will see what can be done.”
A requirement for the RTA funding is that stage one of construction be completed by December 31, so work on the town-end of South Head Rd will commence immediately.
However, Mr Sharpe said there was a whole range of issues to overcome for construction to be completed.
“There is about $700,000 worth of work between the Princes Highway and Keightley Street and we only have $100,000 to date,” he said. “It will take years to get that length done.”
A number of statements of support were put forward on Tuesday night.
“A pathway of this sort for the community and visitors to our area is much overdue,” EurOlink Couriers’ Rob and Alison Lee said.
“I support the Moruya South Head cycle/pathway committee and wish them every success in the future,” Bega MP Andrew Constance said.
“In addition to safety considerations, the construction of a pathway will promote a healthy active lifestyle for recreational use by community members, especially our young,” Moruya Public School principal Peter Johnson said.
“I believe the provision of a safe pathway from Moruya to South Head beach will benefit the whole Moruya community,” Eden-Monaro MP Mike Kelly said.
Mr Sharpe said pedestrian traffic peaked between Keightley Street and the Princes Highway, and at South Head.
“Not many people walk from South Head all the way into town,” he said. “We’ll do to Keightley Street and then within South Head we will provide wide sealed shoulders to facilitate cycling from South Head to Keightley Street.”
Mr Sharpe said he “never said never” but a shared pathway extending the entire length of South Head Road was a long way off.
“You’ve got to weigh up the benefit for the cost you’re going to incur,” he said. “Plus, there are other areas of the shire who also want pathways.”