Funding Assistance Sought if Proposed Orbital Road Progresses
The Port Macquarie-Hastings community continues to provide lots of feedback on a proposed Orbital Road in Port Macquarie through numerous community engagement opportunities.
The proposed Orbital Road consists of an east-west link (Ocean Drive to Oxley Highway), north-south link (Oxley Highway to Boundary Street) and a flood-free airport access road. Its purpose is to cater for future population growth and improve connectivity, traffic flow and congestion across the local road network.
The first round of community engagement started in November 2018, with Council also resolving to actively seek external funding for the required planning process.
Following the current engagement process, which concludes on March 30, Council will decide whether to proceed with the next project phase, a strategic business case.
Acting Mayor Lisa Intemann said the strategic business case involves more detailed investigations, including reviewing all route options and how these compare with, or add to other improvements to the existing road network, such as planned upgrades to Lake Road and Ocean Drive.
“An orbital road has been in consideration for many years, no final route has been determined, and the impacts, including economic, social and environmental viability are still to be assessed,” said Cr Intemann.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council General Manager, Craig Swift-McNair last week wrote to the NSW State Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams, seeking a funding contribution of $400,000 for the development of a strategic business case, to match the $400,000 recommended in Council’s draft 2019/20 budget.
Mr Swift-McNair said that this is a long-term strategic project, and there are many decision points to come before progressing to route selection, detailed design and ultimately construction.
“Our community is saying loud and clear they want Council to improve our road network so we can better manage increasing traffic volumes now and in the future. Property owners in the investigation zone are also telling us… quite understandably, that they need to have certainty on the proposed road including a final route as soon as possible,” said Mr Swift-McNair.
“With this in mind, we are working now to ensure that if Council does decide to proceed to the next stage of the project and develop a strategic business case commencing mid-year, then we will have the money to proceed immediately.
“It is important to note that Council still needs to decide on the next step (being the strategic business case), however it is prudent to be prepared and address this funding issue now.
“This means that the project could progress in a timely manner, and ensure we are working toward an assessment of and confirmation of a preferred Orbital Road route,” Mr Swift-McNair said.
To date more than 360 residents have attended community engagement and drop-in information sessions on the proposed Orbital Road, more than 400 submissions have been received through Council’s website, and 275 surveys have been completed.
Cr Intemann added that large strategic projects such as the proposed Orbital Road absolutely need partnership between Council and the NSW Government.
“I am very hopeful that Mrs Williams can see the value of assessing options in detail as soon as possible, and offer funding support so Council can proceed with the business case without delay once the initial engagement results are known.”
Further information on the proposed Orbital Road is available on Council’s website haveyoursay.pmhc.nsw.gov.au/orbital-road.
Attached: PMHC General Manager Letter to Member for Port Macquarie102KB pdf(PDF, 102KB)