IT is going to be a long, cold Winter for those businesses who help balance the budget with through traffic from the Bells Line. That's official. Transport Minister Andrew Constance says so.
Two weeks ago a freak weather event wreaking havoc across NSW didn't miss our region, resulting in landslides that have closed the Bells Line at Mt Tomah. Any hopes for a quick fix were dashed at the weekend when the Minister said the closure would be indefinite and admitted that RMS engineers were still uncertain of what to do with the massive problem. He said the repairs would take months rather than weeks and admitted there would be stress for residents and businesses along the Bells Line route from Richmond to Lithgow, including many who had not yet recovered from the fire trauma of last year.
First hand experience
THE impact of the Bells Line shutdown was all too evident at the Easter Weekend with the usual holiday through traffic missing from Lithgow's CBD. Cafes and service stations said the situation was 'all too obvious' compared to usual demand. It was even more evident on the Great Western Highway with huge and frustrating, possibly record, traffic snarls the order of the day every day. What was unusual was the east bound flow on Sunday afternoon - with still a day of Easter to go - with reports of traffic banked up from Medlow Bath to River Lett.
Not all sunshine
UNSEASONABLY delightful weather meant wall to wall, in a manner of speaking, campers and caravanners at Lake Wallace and Lake Lyell as well as a steady flow of visitors to other attractions across our region. But the balmy conditions were not without drama with emergency services fully stretched at times dealing with serious accidents ranging from a horse riding fall at Hartley to a trenching incident at Wang to a 4WD accident and canyoners in trouble on the Newnes Plateau. Now a few days of normality would be nice.
THE very talented Guido van Halen who put Portland on the map with his murals on the old cement silos at The Foundations has been in the national news lately with the nation's biggest such art work on a dam wall in South Australia. Can't help picturing what he could do with the cooling tower at Wang power station if given the opportunity. Quite an attraction for the businesses setting up there too. We still live in hope.