MidCoast Council votes to keep Old Bowman Farm road, Gloucester open

Image of the first MidCoast Council meeting held in Gloucester.
Image of the first MidCoast Council meeting held in Gloucester.

The matter of whether or not to close Old Bowman Farm Road has been unresolved for around seven years and recently MidCoast Council has voted to take no further action on the matter.

At an ordinary meeting held in the Gloucester chamber of MidCoast Council on Wedneday June 27, concerned community members where again given the opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter.

Landowners have been seeking through council to close the public road which passes through private property, providing public access to the Barrington River.

The matter had been originally raised in 2011 without resolution through the former Gloucester Shire Council and returned to the council papers at the request of Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen on behalf of the property owner. .

Council staff had put together a recommendation that council take no further action in regard to the request to have the road closed and the land sold to the property owner which had been presented to MidCoast Council twice prior to the recent meeting.

The first deferment was in order to have the matter raised at the first meeting held in Gloucester and on Wednesday March 28, the matter was again deferred at the request of Cr Karen Hutchinson stating the need for more information.

On Wednesday, June 27, after acting general manager Steve Embry left the meeting due to a conflict of interest, members of the community were invited to have their say. 

John Kitchener spoke against the recommendation, in support of the closure and sale of Old Bowman Road to the McIntosh family.

John Hannaford also spoke against the recommendation in relation to the importance of biosecurity in regard to access to rural property in support of Gwen McIntosh.

Naomi Kilby spoke in support of the recommendation on behalf of Barrington Outdoor Adventure Centre, which uses the road for business purposes.

The recommendation for no further action was raised with Cr Hutchinson moving a motion to close the road which was seconded Cr Trevor Fowler. An amendment was raised by Cr Kathryn Bell, seconded by Katheryn Smith to return to the original recommendation.

The final vote was for the motion that no further action be taken with regard to the closure of Old Bowman Farm Road, Gloucester, which was voted in favour for by Cr Smith, Cr Brad Christensen, Cr David Keegan, Cr Bell, Cr Jan McWilliams and Cr Peter Epov. Voting against was mayor David West, Cr Fowler and Cr Hutchinson.

Absent from the meeting were Cr Len Roberts, and Cr Claire Pontin 

Council has said that the decision to not close Old Bowman Farm Road is final, however that does not prevent a future closure request.