$6M Road to nowhere..
Sunday Telegraph Article, 17-06-2012, Page: 39. Contrary to the implied statements made in the Sunday Telegraph article by its reporter Lucas Townsend, I am actually in favour of a road that provides access to the Industrial Area at the rear of the Warwick Farm Horse Training Precinct. But not the option Liverpool City Council sent to the State Government and relevant Ministers. On that point, the article is a little confusing!
It is worth looking at the events which led to these decisions.
Last year, fellow LCIT Councillor Nadia Napoletano, raised a Notice of Motion asking Council to generate a report investigating the possibility of an access road to the Industrial Area along Scrivener Street, located at the rear of the Warwick Farm Horse Training Precinct. The reason for generating that report was due to residents’ concerns of the enormous increase in heavy traffic along Manning Street. Manning Street provides the only access to the Industrial area and poses significant safety concerns to horses and trainers sharing that road. The need for the report was passed unanimously.
When the report came to Council, I moved a motion opposing Councils’ initial recommendation of “do nothing”. The report investigated three possible options for constructing an access road to the Industrial area. To be fair, the main reason for the recommended “do nothing” option was that Council did not have the financial resources to commit to constructing any of the proposed road routes.
However, the most practical route, with the least impact on the area and of most benefit to (almost) everyone, including businesses in the Industrial Area, is the proposed route starting from; Governor Macquarie Drive into Shore Street continuing along the rear of Rosedale Oval that is: between Horseshoe Lagoon and the Oval and connecting to Scrivener / Priddle Streets, that option I fully support. It is also the most expensive, as it requires elevating the road along the section between Horseshoe Lagoon and Rosedale oval, although less than 3% of the lagoons’ total area is affected. Overall it has the least effect on the oval and in my view has little if any environmental effect on Horseshoe Lagoon.
The second most expensive option is similar to that above except it does not encroach onto Horseshoe Lagoon, instead it uses a significant portion of Rosedale Oval for the road. It has little impact on the lagoon but does have an impact on the Oval, although it would not prevent its use as is. It is cheaper simply because there is no need for supporting foundations. This option was suggested only because it has little effect on Horseshoe Lagoon and it was thought it would be difficult to alleviate environmental concerns!
The third option and arguably the least expensive is from Governor Macquarie Drive into Shore Street, then construct a separate parallel road to National St and Stroud Street with suitable Noise Walls. It would mean opening Stroud Street to Scrivener Street. This option has many problems not the least being that it would be difficult for B-Doubles to negotiate the turns from Shore into National and National into Stroud. It also creates access problems to Rosedale Oval. This is the least desirable option as it causes many more problems than it solves. It effectively transfers the problems of Manning Street onto the residents of National and Stroud Streets! Yet this is the option Council sent to the State Government?..!
Contrary to the Mayor’s Statement in the Telegraph article, the actual options and cost implications were not debated at all. Keep in mind that Councils recommendation in the report was to “do nothing”, which I amended with the support of fellow Councillors. To that end the Mayor effectively supports the same Motion.
My motion was to ask the State Government for funding to build the access/bypass road around Rosedale Oval. My only regret is that I did not thoroughly amend the original proposed recommendations of Council. I was made aware of that by concerned residents stating that the proposal (listed in subsequent Councils Meeting Minutes) would detrimentally affect most residents and trainers of the area.
I contemplated a rescission motion to make the necessary changes, but was assured that Council could modify the plans as they were only “possible suggestions” and not “set in concrete”, sadly that is another learning exercise that I won’t fall for in future.
However, I will pursue this matter until it is resolved to the satisfaction of all those affected. I will continue to lobby State Government Ministers for support to a problem that Liverpool City Council does not currently have the financial resources to solve alone.
Keep in mind this problem was caused by a previous State Government that sold the land for industrial use without taking into consideration suitable access roads and despite the fact that the area has special needs listed in the Liverpool Local Environment Plans or LLEP. That requirement was obviously ignored when the decision to sell the land was made. Seems the need to make money at any cost is far more important! (17th June 2012)
The Member for Liverpool, Paul Lynch accuses Councillor Harle of undisclosed interests in the Warwick Farm Precinct. (Hansard: 31-5-12)
As usual the Member for Liverpool, Mr Paul Lynch hides behind Parliamentary privilege by accusing me of not disclosing pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests. That is untrue, to the best of my knowledge I have always disclosed the fact that I have family members residing in the Warwick Farm area. In fact it is regrettable that I abstained from voting on earlier Council decisions when the matter of rezoning parts of the area came before Council. A motion before Council was to defer the rezoning until a thorough traffic study of the area had been carried out. Had I voted that traffic study would have occurred, taking all aspects of the rezoning into account, a decision that all Labor and one Independent Councillor opposed. Councils’ decision effectively caused the current increasing and worsening traffic conditions that many residents fought against, including those that opposed the rezoning of Coopers Paddock.
The facts are that during Mr Lynchs’ term as a Liverpool City Councillor (1987-1995), the Industrial area at the rear of the Warwick Farm Racing Precinct was a matter for Liverpool City Councils’ consideration and in my opinion should not have been approved. Since then, traffic problems have escalated with little done to alleviate them. Despite Mr Lynchs’ claims to the contrary, there are no traffic calming devices installed and never have been. Closing roads and forcing all heavy traffic onto another road only moves the problem, it doesn’t solve it. Numerous traffic investigations found there are no simple solutions, normal traffic calming devices are not practical in a horse training area, they only add to the existing problems. It is a difficult problem that past Aldermen and Councillors have ignored.
I raised the issue early in my term as a Councillor and on behalf of horse trainers and property owners within the area. The escalating problems of heavy traffic in Manning Street need urgent attention and before someone is seriously injured or killed. The fact that heavy vehicles increasingly use this area only compounds the problem.
In my view, the only viable solution is to provide an alternative access road to the Industrial Area. An extension of an existing road is required around the rear of Rosedale Oval. It is the only practical route that has minimum effect on all property owners in the Warwick Farm Horse Training Precinct and minimises the impact on Rosedale Oval.
I put forward a Notice Of Motion (NOM) asking that Council writes to the State Government for funding to construct a suitable access road to the Industrial Area at the rear of Warwick Farm, citing that the current problems are the cause of a previous State Labor Government that sold the land and zoned it Industrial without taking into consideration access to the area. That NOM was passed by the majority of Councillors.
The proposed access road plan submitted to the State Government was one of three possible options, and in my opinion not the most appropriate. However, once a reply is received, Council will be in a better position to decide on the best possible option. I discussed that issue with those cited by Mr Lynch at a regularly scheduled public forum for the Liverpool Action Group (LAG). The latter is a non-political group of concerned residents that take an active interest in all matters affecting Liverpool.
Another proposal was to build a bridge across the Georges River providing access from Newbridge Road and linking industrial areas on both sides of the river. However the cost of such a bridge at this time is considered far greater than the proposed road around the rear of Rosedale Oval.
It would be of far greater benefit to the Liverpool Community if the Member for Liverpool chose to help the residents of Warwick Farm rather than try to denigrate me or fellow Councillors. There are numerous contradictory statements in his diatribe, not the least being the confusion of the names of people he claims to represent (now removed from the current Hansard Document). That also applies to the number of residents and workers in the area, seems Parliamentary Privilege is an often abused election tool.
Thanks to the Member for Menai, Melanie Gibbons for her supportive comments.