At Council's meeting of September 12th, 2017 Councillor Constable moved to defer THAT Council endorse the submission to Roads and Maritime Services regarding the preferred option for the new Batemans Bay bridge. For those not able to watch the meeting via Live Streaming the following is Councillor Constable's motion and the statement that he read in context of his motion
11. Infrastructure Reports IR17/053 Batemans Bay Bridge Preferred Option.
Motion to Defer:
Council move to defer the decision to support Road and Maritime Services regarding the preferred option for the new Batemans Bay Bridge pending further discussions with the RMS, and commitment by the RMS to fully fund the ancillary infrastructure identified in the draft submission necessary to facilitate the new bridge development; and / or other matters that may arise in discussions relating to the provision of an alternate crossing over the Clyde River.
Initially I wish to acknowledge Minister Constance continued contribution and commitment to the betterment of our Shire. His successful advocacy to achieve funding for a new bridge over the Clyde River represents the single largest infrastructure investment by any Government in the Eurobodalla.
I am, however, personally disappointed that the RMS has chosen to go with the upgrading of the existing inner bypass option, rather than adopt an alternate highway corridor with the new bridge to the West around the powerline easement. However, that is not the singular reason for seeking this motion for deferral.
In the Council prepared draft Submission to the RMS on the table today numerous recommendations are made, and the term must is used on a number of occasions to somehow indicate a conditionality, on our part, for support of the new bridge as per RMS preferred option.
Most notably stating; the proposed works must include necessary upgrades to the Princes Highway / Kings Highway roundabout. (This, I profoundly support as the singularly most important piece of roadworks to facilitate more improved traffic movement in the whole exercise.)
However; There are a lot of other musts in the prepared submission. These musts, albeit imparting some form of conditionality to supporting the bridge in our own minds, may not be so appreciated, nor adopted by the RMS.
We have in the Council prepared submission; the recommendations of the establishment of a suitable RMS/Council technical alliance to develop detailed design options; and develop detailed designs for engagement with the community.
These recommendations again are not binding on the RMS.
So where now?
I do sincerely congratulate staff involved in the preparation of the document for identifying the numerous elements of necessary ancillary infrastructure required to support the proposed development. The impacts on trunk water mains, and sewer rising mains, the relocation of toilet facilities, the design and construction of a new regional bus exchange, the installation of a new sewer pumping station in the vicinity of Clyde Street, upgrading of the Princes Highway / Beach Road intersection, and much more, the list is extensive.
With such an extensive list of readily identified add-on costs comes a risk. And, not least to those businesses in Clyde Street that has also been identified.
I do not wish our community to be left with any residual cost burden as a result of the bridge development if all that is identified is not fully funded.
It is my desire to have the commitment from the RMS to fund the required ancillary infrastructure and address the community concerns of providing adequate clearances under the bridge for marine and road transport and making good any disturbances to boat launching/trailer parking and ground traffic/parking/pedestrian/disabled access at the north and south ends.
In effect, I am asking my fellow Councillors to refrain from endorsing the proposal until we have the assurances that we shall be no worse off.
Let Council have the discussions and secure the commitment.
A long-term vision for a highway corridor with an external bypass to secure Batemans Bay’s character should be included in those discussions as an alternative cost option.
His motion was voted down 5 to 2 votes.