At a very well attended meeting at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club on Saturday 1st December 2018, dozens of local Batemans Bay and surrounding area residents unanimously supported a motion to demand the local Member and any aspiring future politicians to review the current Batemans Bay Bridge project, all its impacts on our local road system and intersections immediately and before any further construction works proceed.
Many in the community expressed their outrage with the secretive way the bridge project has been presented to the community so far and many are alarmed by the poor design of the project that clearly shows a lack of vision. It ignores major issues regarding the capacity of the frequently congested local road network and does not address sufficiently the excessive queuing and congestion at the Kings Highway and Princes Highway intersection where the queues do build up to Nelligen or up to 10/15 km in length on the Princes Highway from holiday makers coming from Sydney.
Issues raised via the Resolutions include -
1. Poor and uninformed bridge project design.
2. Pedestrian access to the elevated bridge from either side of the river bank is of serious concern.
3. The access to the bridge pathway for people with disabilities, the elderly and those walkers with mobility issues must be reviewed.
4. Passenger lifts to the elevated bridge walkway need to be placed on each river bank.
5. Poor design of the foreshore area given this is and will remain the major tourist attraction and amenity to our region.
6. Flyover/overpass/bridge over Kings Highway to significantly ease current and future congestion at the Kings/Princes Highway intersection.
7. Immediate review of the city centre traffic management with respect to operations of large supply vehicles, buses and coaches is required. The location and operations of the coach terminal / central bus station must be reviewed.
8. Assurance sought in relation to the provision of a vehicular ramp between Clyde Street and Princes Highway to ease extreme pressure on North Street. 9. Where is the Batemans Bay strategic Master plan or will this exercise be another ad hoc or piece meal project like the Bowling club ?
10. Resolve and confirm the scouring from the existing bridge and the consequences this has caused to properties within the river estuary.
As the meeting progressed it was obvious the attending community members were extremely disappointed that the project is somewhat of a ‘cart- before- the- horse’ situation, however all agree the bridge is very timely, are very supportive of the concept and of the necessity to address the needs for the future now.
Subsequently on Thursday last ( 13th December ) the RMS conducted a public meeting and introduced GHD as the consultant to give the community an understanding of its role within the proposed project and the analysis of the damage caused by the current bridge thus placing the homes on both sides of the river estuary at high risk. Understandably, the bulk of the community attending the meeting were hoping for this outcome and were obviously disappointed with what they were told. At times the tension was palpable. The possibility of an injunction to halt the project was raised with a unanimous motion being passed for an urgent public meeting to be held as a high priority either through the RMS or alternately a general open meeting could be arranged by the community itself.
I have since been advised that the local member Andrew Constance met with the community primarily to discuss item # 10 at Korners Park, Wharf Road, Surfside on Monday Dec 17th .
United we stand - divided we FAIL.
This report/overview was prepared by
Milton Leslight, Batemans Bay business proprietor, former ESC Councillor, Member NSW and Eurobodalla Coast Alliance