Monday, November 28, 2011

UPDATE FROM TD8 ACTION GROUP - 28th November 2011

Below is the update provided by the TD8 Action Group at the Elands Community Lunch and Meeting on Sunday 27th November.

The state of the Upper Bulga Road was a key topic of discussion at the meeting and all in attendance agreed that they wanted the road fixed. While a few ideas were discussed, it was suggested that it would be best to have a meeting to specifically discuss the road. It was agreed that this meeting would take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 7th December at the Bulga Soldiers Memorial Hall and all are welcome. At this meeting TD8 action group will present a more detailed overview of their recent activities and possible ways for securing the support needed to address the immediate and long term needs of the upper Bulga Road.

The design of the new Marlee and Duffs bridges is now underway. GTCC originally attended to build the Duffs bridge on a new alignment but as some potential aboriginal heritage artefacts were found in the proposed area, it is now most likely that the replacement Duffs bridge will be built on the existing alignment. It is likely that the pre-tender meetings will not take place until January / February 2012. It is the intention of GTCC officers to table a further report to Council regarding the bridges at the December 2011 meeting.

The impact of Duffs bridge now being built on the existing alignment is that this bridge will also need to be shut down for a period of 7 – 10 days at some point during construction, but that is a long way off at this stage and GTCC will be providing regular updates on this to the community.

A 400 tonne crane is required to replace the bridges and a crane of this size will be shipped to the site in pieces and then assembled (assembly alone will take around 5 -6 days). The crane is so large that it is likely that GTCC will also be required to design and construct a concrete pad for it to be placed on.

GTCC received written confirmation earlier this week that the $2.5 million as committed by the State Government will be available to Council in the 2012-2013 financial year.

GTCC will shortly receive approximately $80,000 from the RTA as part of the natural disaster funding so they can undertake more extensive geotechnical investigations into the slips that took place in June 2011. The RTA are continuing to assess GTCC’s damage claim and the Council hope they will know the RTA’s position on the overall funding claim in the next month or so.

GTCC advised TD8 that the RTA will most probably not provide any funding to Council until November / December 2012 and even if they do provide some level of funding to GTCC later this year, there is no guarantee that they will receive the full amount of the estimate provided to them. GTCC also advised TD8 that it should be clearly noted that the RTA will only fund Council in order to bring the road up to the pre-event condition – they do not provide funding for bringing the road up to a higher standard than it was prior to the storm event. To do this, additional funding would be required by Council.

In relation to the Federal funding of $12.7 million for roads and bridges, GTCC has lodged a funding application however Bulga Road is not included in the works program should GTCC be successful in their funding request.

“Road Maintenance” Volunteers
This idea is modelled on the Rural Fire Service and has been raised by TD8 with GTCC. Council have agreed to discuss it with the Hon. Jennifer Gardiner however as something like this would require the introduction of legislation, it is not anticipated such a service would be created quickly.

Return of Bulga Road to a regional road
The return of Bulga Road to a regional road would provide access to State funding. Over the last two years, TD8 has supplied a reclassification submission to two Roads Ministers and discussed it on a number of occasions with our local member, the Hon. Andrew Stoner. To date, our request has been declined. We recently raised this issue with GTCC and they have agreed to discuss the possibility of a join request for reclassification with Port Macquarie Hastings Council. Following the local launch of the Legendary Pacific Coast program, material regarding the request for reclassification has again been supplied to the Road Minister’s office.

Access to special funding

Given TD8 is repeatedly told by GTCC that they don’t have the funds required to maintain the roads within the Local Government Area, we have asked GTCC if there are any other funding avenues they can access. GTCC has advised TD8 that when the details of the NSW Infrastructure Fund are available, they will enquire if this Fund may provide any additional funding that could be used for roads.

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