4 October 2023

Congo Road reopening push moves up a gear with plans on display for community feedback

| Claire Sams
Start the conversation
Road closure sign

There are hopes the closure of Congo Road North might finally be coming to an end. Photo: Region.

A plan to redefine the boundaries of a Eurobodalla road is on public exhibition, bringing the end of a long-running community concern a step closer.

Congo Road North was closed in November 2021 following independent legal advice as Eurobodalla Shire Council had sought to remove a small number of trees along the edge of the road.

However, work was deferred following objections from some members of the community and, at that point, the landowner’s agreement for the public to pass through their land was withdrawn due to potential liability issues.

A Congo Community Association spokesperson said residents had been discussing the issue with the council.

“We do think we have been listened to by council; we do feel like we have been supported by council,” the spokesperson said.

“I think the community has felt that the council were working towards a resolution and that they had a clear plan in place for that.”

In recent months, ownership of a so-called ”paper road” – a road that legally existed but had not been built yet – was transferred from Crown Lands to the council after councillors approved the proposal earlier this year.

A survey of the area had been conducted and the road boundaries were placed on public exhibition for community comment.

READ ALSO Families left stunned by Capital Football’s ‘outrageous’ decision to disband pathway to women’s elite teams

The public has until mid-October to submit responses to the proposed solution.

Since the closure almost three years ago, Congo residents and visitors alike had to rely on Congo Road South for entry and exit from the village.

The CCA spokesperson said they were looking forward to having the road open again.

“We are happy we’re at this point, but it’s been a bit of a waiting game,” they said.

“We really look forward to having things move quickly in the coming months and have the road opened this year.”

According to the council, the private landowner, adjacent property owners and Congo residents on the council’s mailing list had been informed of the plan.

The CCA spokesperson said the closure continued to impact life in the village.

“The same issues that we were concerned about from the get-go still exist,” they said.

“If you’ve got to get to town or there’s an emergency, it takes longer because it’s a far longer journey via the southern access, and there is the cost of petrol.”

The spokesperson said that as the weather continued to warm, Congo residents were also concerned at the impact having the road closed would have on bushfire risk.

“We’re greatly concerned because of the position of Congo,” they said.

“It is surrounded by bush and we know that fuel loads are very high, particularly to the north-west.”

READ ALSO Hear ye, hear ye! Thousands turn out to first-ever Queanbeyan Medieval Fair

Once the exhibition period closes, the proposed plan might be approved as it is, or with an amendment.

The CCA spokesperson said the Congo community hoped the road would be reopened by December.

“The council has not said at any time that they’re going to open up [the road] before December,” they said.

“That’s the community’s wish, but there are obviously a whole range of views coming in that public submission period that may affect the process.”

If the plan is successful, it will then be lodged with the Office of the Registrar General, a New South Wales state body, to change the boundaries of the public road.

However, before opening, the road would need to be graded and nine trees removed before the public can use it.

The plan’s public exhibition will run until 10 am on 12 October, under the reference S023-T00023.

Submissions can be made through several methods, with further information on the council’s website.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.