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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

For the sake of a "paltry $120,000" it could have been an exceptional windfall for the Tur

Councillor Lindsay Brown asked, as a Urgent Matter at the Council meeting of 11 September 2018 that Council request immediate discussion regarding the construction of the roadworks and accompanying bus stop at the corner of the Princes Highway and Hector McWilliam Drive, Tuross Head. The Motion 18/253 received unanimous support and identified particular concerns for users with a disability in the proposed design and construction. Advice received from the Tuross Head Progress Association is that they were in receipt of correspondence from RMS stating the extra cost to expand the proposed carpark to accommodate a bus shelter and drive-through area for buses is $120,000. RMS also advised the extra $120,000 is not available to them which is a paltry sum when considering the opportunity to create a safe bus stop for Tuross residents, visitors, commuters and the travelling public. Advice from Ann Sudmalis MP is that she is still seeking an extra $100,000 that may be available. Councillor Brown said that "In light of such a low cost and noting the current construction works, what has been the result of both agency and political advocacy on this issue, especially with the relevant state Members and Ministers? What options are available to ESC to ensure Tuross residents are being treated equitably to Sussex Inlet residents and their Princes Highway bus stop?" A response has now been received from Council staff to these questions to be tabled at next Tuesday's Council meeting (Nov 13th, 2018). Response The following Motion 18/253 was passed at the Ordinary Meeting of Council held 11 September 2018, regarding the car park works conducted by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) on the corner of Hector McWilliam Drive and the Princes Highway: THAT Council: 1. Request that RMS consider removal of the bus stops north and south, from the Princes Highway at Tuross and provide a bus stop within the proposed carpark, including a bus shelter, to address safety and access needs 2. Seek urgent meeting with RMS to discuss these issues 3. Seek urgent representation to the Local Member and relevant Ministers to advocate for funding for these works. The background to this Motion was that the Disability Inclusion Advisory Committee (DIAC) reviewed the RMS design for the Hector McWilliam Drive/Princes Highway intersection from a disability/mobility perspective at its meeting in September 2018. Subsequent to the Council resolution, the following actions have been taken: i) 18 September 2018 - teleconference discussion with the RMS. The RMS re-affirmed previous verbal advice that this proposal was outside of the scope of the budget available for the intersection upgrade. ii) 18 September 2018 – letter to the RMS formally requesting they pursue the additional funding required from the NSW Government to expand the scope of works (incorporating Council’s resolution). Copy of Council’s letter provided to Councillors on 21 September 2018. iii) 20 September 2018 – letter from the Mayor to Hon Andrew Constance MP in accord with Council’s resolution outlining the advantages for the community in expanding the works to include the bus stop within the car park and associated bus shelter, and seeking his support to provide the necessary funding to the RMS. iv) 25 September 2018 - the RMS re-affirmed verbal advice that the $1.4M in funding for intersection improvements was to reduce crash risks which will be achieved within the current scope of works. A change to the carpark to include a bus stop would be outside the scope of the project, requiring additional approvals, development and funding. RMS have advised Transport for NSW of Council’s request for additional bus and transport facilities at the intersection. RMS advised Council to pursue funding under the Country Passenger Transport Infrastructure Grant Scheme (CPTIGS). Copy of Council’s letter provided to Councillors on 28 September 2018. v) 18 & 29 September 2018 - Tuross Head Progress Association (THPA) made submissions to Ann Sudmalis MP, Hon Andrew Constance MP and RMS seeking funding to incorporate the additional work required for the off-highway bus stop. vi) 2 October 2018 - THPA advised Andrew Constance’s office that advice from Ann Sudmalis MP was that she continues to seek avenues to provide the additional funding needed. vii) 26 October 2018 - Council is advised by THPA that Andrew Constance has made a representation to RMS. The RMS has since constructed and sealed the car park off Hector McWilliam Drive for car parking (but excluding the work needed to accommodate buses). The new car park does offer a higher level of service and safety to the general community compared to the previous informal grassed/dirt car park that existed prior to work commencing on the intersection, however there would be significant benefits in accommodating bus stops within the car park. It is noted that the RMS has also approached Transport for NSW regarding grant programs relaying that this is essentially a matter for Council to pursue separately to the current RMS project. Council will now investigate the option of securing grant funding from Transport for NSW. To achieve this project Council will need to:  Liaise with the interstate and intrastate bus companies seeking their concurrence to exiting off the Princes Highway with a pick-up within the car park as part of their route  Formally request the consent of the RMS to utilise the land for the expanded car park  Prepare a survey and design of an expanded car park suitable for bus pick-up and setdown  Prepare estimates of cost and undertake a review of environmental factors for the work  Secure grant funding from Transport for NSW  Undertake the work, including relocation of the bus shelter. Council staff have already indicated we would, by necessity, pursue this course of action. In the meantime, the RMS has been requested to consent to Council utilising suitable recycled materials from other local works to contribute to the provision of the required earthworks at a lower cost. As the processes outlined above will take time, these materials will be stockpiled for future use. Councillor Anthony Mayne, as Council’s representative, has been requested to seek the support of SEATS at its meeting of 8-9 November 2018 to advocate to have the NSW Government provide, fund and maintain all bus facilities outside of town areas for interstate and intrastate bus services along the Princes Highway. Councillor Mayne may be able to provide a verbal update upon his return from the SEATS meeting. Council may wish to formally resolve to write to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure to advocate for the NSW Government to take responsibility for providing and owning such bus and parking facilities (as they do now for truck rest stops and the like). This would allow the RMS to consider such facilities more holistically, providing for all road users, as part of all future projects along the Princes Highway. Council will therefore continue to work with RMS and Transport for NSW to deliver improved safety and accessibility at this and other sites. RECOMMENDATION THAT: i) the response to the question regarding the bus stop and carpark on the corner of Hector McWilliam Drive and Princes Highway, Tuross Head, raised by Councillor Brown be received and noted ii) Council write formally to the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Hon Andrew Constance MP seeking his further support for: a) Funding to be made available to the NSW Roads and Maritime Services from Transport for NSW to provide a suitable expansion of the new car park built off Hector McWilliam Drive to incorporate an interstate/intrastate bus dropoff/pick-up area b) The NSW Government to take ownership and responsibility for all interstate/intrastate bus and parking facilities along highways, including the Princes Highway, with a view to incorporating such facilities where appropriate, into all future projects.

NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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