The Moruya community learn today, via an electioneering photo shoot, that Eurobodalla Council has made application for a $2.5m in funding through an Active Transport program. The community have been waiting in limbo since the last funding announcement on May 2018 while this missing link has remained unfunded. The Bay Post reported (Feb 4th 2022) : "Mrs Brice was at the site on Friday, February 4, as Mayor Mat Hatcher, Bega Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs, Gilmore Liberal candidate Andrew Constance, and Active Transport Minister Rob Stokes were on hand to announce the application had been submitted."
While Andrew Constance said at the 'announcement "I've worked quite closely with Danielle on this project, and Fiona (Kotvojs) will see this through for the community," it was good to see the Active Transport Minister, Rob Stokes, provide some clarity around the grant needing to be assessed independently on its merits and the merits of other applications received saying: "I'm convinced, having seen it, this project has real merit.
"There's a process to be followed and a decision to be made in the coming weeks, but I'm confident, provided this project meets the parameters of the program, which I'm sure it will, it's exactly the sort of project that should be funded.
"Ultimately I'm the guy who will make the decision on the funding. I can't pre-empt anything because applications haven't formally closed yet, but having seen it you'd be foolish to not realise how important this project is to the community." he told ACM It now appears that when Council makes a grant application it requires the attendance to a photo shoot of a NSW Minister, some good citizens and two candidates in an upcoming election.
Image: source Andrew Constance. Given that the Active Transport Minister, Rob Stokes, said "I'm convinced, having seen it, this project has real merit" it is more than surprising (and disappointing) that it has taken a by-election to have the unfinished project recognised. It is not know if Council applied in 20/21 but the extensive list of councils that received funding does not list this project with merit for any cycleway funding.
The Moruya South Head community learnt at the time (May 2018) that there would be no change and very little pathway built from the $750,000 gifted by Andrew Constance, Member for Bega, under the Active Transport Program. At the May 22nd, 2018 Council meeting there was disappointment shown by members of the Moruya South Head Cycle/Pathway Committee as they heard the discussions prior to Council accepting the offer of funding of $750,000 from the NSW Government toward a shared pathway along South Head Road. During discussion it was revealed that very little of the remaining 2.3km of pathway would be constructed with the money and that the three quarters of a million dollars would be only sufficient enough to complete a short section section east of The Anchorage to Halyard Drive with the rest of the money being used to undertake the detailed design, environmental approvals and land acquisition for the section between Keightley Street and Halyard Drive and for preparing estimates for the whole of the project. Once completed these environmental reports, designs, land acquisitions, permissions and estimates would be in place, should further funding be found to allow commencement of work from Keightley Street toward South Head. All this came at a surprise and also a disappointment to Councillor Anthony Mayne who sought explanation from Director of Infrastructure, Warren Sharpe (follow to the discussion in the video below). Councillor Mayne stated he was well aware that there were alternate ideas outside of Council suggesting a possible alternate route that would be considerably more affordable. He voiced his concerns that there would be little in the way of any new pathway constructed and requested a Kumbeyah round table with all interested parties to discuss other options. That was agreed to however, as yet, that meeting has not been called. The Director of Infrastructure clearly advised Councilor Mayne during the council meeting that the funding ($750,000) has "the caveat on it that it has to be used for an off road shared pathway." (see video time stamp 5:55) Councillor Mayne has now sought to see the exact wording of that caveat and establish what other conditions have been placed on the money by Minister Constance as this will have a direct impact on any alternate options being bought to the table proposing an alternate route or design to that now being considered by Council staff.
Above: a VIDEO extract from the Ordinary Meeting of Eurobodalla Council Date: 22 May 2018 - Councillor Anthony Mayne speaking to the Agenda Item:IR18/024 Funding Offer - Active Transport Program - Shared Path, South Head Road, Moruya ** See Note below
Andrew Constance, Member for Bega today voiced the response of "Outrageous" when advised by the Bay Post that Eurobodalla Shire Council has stated that his $750,000 will not be enough to complete the Moruya to South Head pathway. Danielle Brice, a long time supporter of the Moruya South Head Cycle/Pathway project, which was first formed back in 2000 by community members, was also dismayed when she heard that the $750,000 would see little in the way of the missing 2.3km of pathway being constructed and was also disappointed to hear that the missing link might take 5 to 10 years to complete understanding that Council had determined that the Moruya to South Head off–road pathway linkage will be reconsidered when the pathways strategy is next reviewed in five years, unless the project is fully funded through grants (outside of the Active Transport Program) and/or community funding.