Chamber warns of voter backlash
The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce gave the new NSW Minister for Roads a blunt message during her recent visit to Woy Woy.
Chamber president Mr Matthew Wales said he warned Ms Melinda Pavey that the Berejiklian Government needed to be very careful of a community backlash over the state of the Peninsula's roads and the decision to abandon the Rawson Rd level crossing replacement project.
"Not a day goes by when I am not confronted with people concerned by the state of our roads, drains and infrastructure," Mr Wales said.
"The State Government has to step in and assist the Central Coast Council with additional funding for our roads," he said.
The Chamber has presented Ms Pavey with its priority list of roads on the Peninsula which were in greatest need of attention.
None of the roads on the Chamber's list is currently on the Central Coast Council's list of top 200 road projects.
"That means not one of the roads on our list will be fixed within our lifetime if we rely on Council funding alone," he said.
Council has put the total cost of its top 12 road projects, none of which is on the Peninsula, at $470 million, Mr Wales said.
"That top 12, based on the current Council budget, would take the next 20 years to complete.
"There is a deep-seated distrust within the community over the Woy Woy underpass," Mr Wales said.
The Chamber urged Ms Pavey to hold discussions with Central Coast Council as a matter of urgency over what alternative Peninsula road projects the $52 million earmarked for the rail crossing should be used for.
"I argued that $52 million should have been put back into other road priorities and she did not disagree," Mr Wales said.
Mr Wales said he believed the Peninsula's business and broader community deserved better than electioneering when it came to roads.
"We want to see the State commit to helping Council and not just as election time."
In briefing the NSW Cabinet, Central Coast Council's administrator Mr Ian Reynolds and chief Mr Rob Noble called for a partnership approach with NSW RMS to deliver a roads maintenance program for the region.
"The growing population of the Central Coast is having a significant impact on the road network," according to the briefing notes delivered to NSW Government Ministers by Mr Reynolds and Mr Noble.
"The Central Coast is home to a number of State Roads and there has been a significant increase in requests from RMS for Council to carry out maintenance work on these roads on behalf of RMS as their resources as increasingly stretched.
"A unified Central Coast Council now presents the opportunity to look at the road network as a whole and develop a more efficient and effective delivery of a total roads maintenance program for the region.
"In some instances this could also be extended to roads construction.
"Through Council's consistent engagement with, and knowledge of the community, further efficiencies can be made in delivering a consolidated roads program and ensuring community expectations are met," the briefing notes said.
During its presentation to the NSW Cabinet, Council called for a partnership approach with the RMS where Council plans and prioritises a works program with RMS, received funding from RMS and then manages and delivers the works program.
"This approach has the potential to deliver cost benefits to RMS and ultimately the State Government."
Intervew, 15 Feb 2017
Matthew Wales, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
Briefing notes, 9 Feb 2017
Ian Reynolds, Central Coast Council
Reporter: Jackie Pearson