Tourism operators hit back over Pacific Highway signage
POOR signage on the new Pacific Highway upgrade is being blamed for some communities in the region being robbed of potential tourism dollars while some visitors to the area are having an hour added to their journey.
The Channon Market has been operating for 40 years and is a regional attraction but market manager Robyn Kelly said new signs on the Ewingsdale to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway mean people travelling south from the border "can't find us".
Ms Kelly said people travelling to Nimbin and The Channon are not being directed through Bangalow but instead are now sent south via Ballina and Lismore.
She said travellers would be better off taking the Ewingsdale turnoff at the start of the new section and then taking the old highway to Bangalow before travelling to The Channon or Nimbin via Clunes and Bangalow Rd.
Ms Kelly said this route provides direct access to Lismore's hinterland including Clunes, Nimbin and The Channon but said there are no signs on the new highway indicating the alternative route.
People who drive south past Bangalow to Lismore via the Bruxner Highway, and then to The Channon, can add an hour to their trip she said.
Ms Kelly said the impact was evident at the markets in January and again yesterday.
"People call us from Ballina and want to know where to go," she said.
"One man was halfway to Grafton and still looking for a sign."
Ms Kelly said The Channon market was a popular tourist destination and an economic hub, providing a market place for more than 250 local businesses.
She said market organisers are unable to erect their own signs as the highway upgrade is located in the Byron Shire Council area.
Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said she has fielded numerous complaints from tourism operators in the region about the poor signage.
Ms Dowell said Lismore Regional Council had recently launched a tourism campaign to attract visitors to Nimbin but the campaign is being undermined by poor signage.
The situation "is a total mess", she said.
Ms Dowell said she had been assured a sign indicating the route through Bangalow was to be installed but that plan had not come to fruition.
A spokeswoman for the highway upgrade said signs indicating alternative routes would be erected if the Byron Bay and Lismore councils can reach agreement.