Council could divert Budget money away from Peninsula
Member for Robertson Ms Lucy Wicks has announced that $7.2 million from the Federal Budget would go to road projects on the Peninsula.
But no sooner had the announcement been made than Central Coast Council had reallocated $700,000 of it to roadworks at Kariong, according to Peninsula Chamber of Commerce president Mr Matthew Wales.
Ms Wicks said the road projects would upgrade Ryans Rd in Umina, and Murray and Davis Sts in Booker Bay.
"These road upgrades are critical for our community, and I will be working closely with Central Coast Council to ensure we see shovels in the ground in coming months on every one of these roads," she said.
Mr Wales, said he was surprised that Murray St was included in Ms Wicks' list of roads to be funded from the Federal Budget.
"Murray St, estimated to cost between $600,000 and $700,000, was already built by Council six months ago out of Section 94 contributions," Mr Wales said.
He said he had raised the issue with Council's group leader of infrastructure, former Wyong Council director Mr Mike Dowling.
Mr Wales said he was alarmed to be told that the Murray St funding could be re-allocated to non-Peninsula projects, such as the Woy Woy Rd-Langford Dr intersection at Kariong.
"The Federal Member should have known or should have consulted Council," Mr Wales said.
"The money should not be redirected to make up the shortfall needed to pay for the Langford Dr intersection," he said.
Mr Wales said he would prefer to see the money reallocated to rebuild Britannia St or Rabaul Ave in Umina, both of which are known to be popular Peninsula "rat runs" to avoid major areas of congestion.
Mr Wales said he had not spoken with Ms Wicks.
"I find it extraordinary that it got to the point of being included in the Federal Budget without anyone putting their hand up and saying that Murray St was already finished and paid for by Council," he said.
"Council always had the money for Murray St allocated in its work program so I find it rather inept and clumsy that it has been included in the Federal Budget."
Mr Wales said Ms Wicks was given the Peninsula Chamber's own extensive list of road priorities for the Peninsula "months and months and months before the budget".
"When we saw her list we shook our heads.
"Murray St is already done; Davis St is in an R1 medium density area, so all roadworks should be funded from Section 94 developer contributions.
"I don't believe it should be paid for out of taxpayer funds," he said.
"Britannia Ave on the other hand is so bad the likelihood of it being funded out of Section 94 contributions is remote," he said.
Media release, 9 May 2017
Tim Sowden, Office of Lucy Wicks MP
Interview, 10 May 2017
Matthew Wales, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
Reporter: Jackie Pearson