Businesses in Grong Grong are already noticing an increase in traffic and visitors to the town with the erection of new diversion signs on the Newell Highway.
Located five kilometres from the northern and western entrances, the signs invite motorists to take a break in Grong Grong, and visit the hotel, motel, post office, Earth Park and take advantage of the RV dump point.
They complement the existing blue Roads and Maritime Services directional signs to the tiny town on the Newell.
Grong Grong Progress Association president Bob Manning said business operators had waited 18 months for the 6m x 3m signs to be erected following the deviation of the town.
“The deviation took almost all the traffic out of Grong Grong, which is under-standable, as the travellers wanted a free flow, and it took the risk out of residents crossing the highway,” Mr Manning said. “But, unfortunately, it affected the business of the town.
“As a consequence, the motel erected their own sign and we had arranged as part of the assistance to the town, the Roads and Maritime Services would provide some large signs in view of the affect on business.
“These were designed and made up, but sat in a shed in Sydney for a long time.
“The community was frustrated with the planning section which would not accept the design of the sign. They didn’t comply with competition guidelines and finally their rejection was for the signs not to be put on private land due to the Local Environmental Plan constraints.”
Mr Manning said the change was immediate with motorists choosing to stop in Grong Grong.
Grong Grong Store and Post Office operator Fran Townsend welcomed the new signs, with more people coming into the township. Ms Townsend has worked hard to refurbish the store’s kitchen, new external paint and signage to encourage motorists into the main street.
“With the two signs on the highway, I fought hard to get the Australia Post logo on there to bring customers into the store and post office,” she said.
Grong Grong Motor Inn proprietors John and Sandra Kooper erected their own advertising signs on the highway soon after the diversion.
The couple was frustrated over the delays of promised funding for local businesses to erect directional signage on the highway.
He said the business community’s ideas to put the attractions and services of Grong Grong on one large sign was stymied for 18 months.
The couple is not impressed with the new sign’s design, saying it could have been more attractive to the eye, depicting the natural landscape, flowering canola fields or sheep.
“The town is struggling already – we are OK as we have a 9.5 rating with more people than we can handle but in the interests of the town it is an embarrassment and shame,” Mr Kooper said.