Mayoral candidates have a say on roads, footpaths and car parking

Ongoing issue: A Fairfax Media reader poll ranked road, car parking and footpath planning and delivery at number one of 10 priorities for candidates contesting the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council mayoral by-election.
Ongoing issue: A Fairfax Media reader poll ranked road, car parking and footpath planning and delivery at number one of 10 priorities for candidates contesting the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council mayoral by-election.

Roads, car parking and footpaths are at the top of a reader priority list for mayoral candidates, a Fairfax Media poll showed.

The candidates have responded.

Sharon Griffiths (independent)

It’s no surprise to me that the top priorities are roads, footpaths and parking.  

For the last five years I have been fighting for roads, footpaths and parking to become the highest priority areas for council delivery. 

In 2015 I put forward a list of community priorities for the budgeted works for the year which included the construction of a link road between Ocean Drive and the university precinct at Lake Innes, dual lanes on Lake Road, pedestrian crossings to address safety at Lake Cathie and Gordon Street as well as CBD parking which had been an issue for many years

These key points were rejected by councillors at the time. 

For the last five years I have been fighting for roads, footpaths and parking to become the highest priority areas for council delivery.

Sharon Griffiths

I will continue to fight for community priorities including roadside vegetation as well as the need to upgrade all roads in our local government area.

I believe there are financial solutions available to increase the delivery of works for the communities priorities. 

 I have been in business 30 years and have the practical knowledge and experience as well as the financial understanding to deliver the community’s priorities.  

One of my major strengths is finance, a key skill required to understanding and leading the process to deliver the priorities efficiently and effectively.

Lisa Intemann (independent)

Roads come up first in virtually every resident survey, not only here but for all regional councils.

Whatever anyone says, there’s no easy solution while ever there’s insufficient federal tax income being reinvested into local road maintenance.

Aside from that, I support council investing more of its rate income on road maintenance as well as continuing to generate efficiencies, a process that was started here five years ago and is beginning to bear fruit and I’m keen to drive forward.

We need to protect the Plaza carpark from sale, work with commerce to deliver more parking spaces and make public transport and car alternatives more appealing and available.

Lisa Intemann

Car parking is a huge issue due to local population growth rates and car use.

We need to protect the Plaza carpark from sale, work with commerce to deliver more parking spaces and make public transport and car alternatives more appealing and available.

Let’s also investigate light rail.

Footpaths are vitally important for health, safety and community connection, as well as reducing reliance on cars.

Four years ago council upped its annual footpath budget from around $100,000 to $500,000, but that’s still not enough to make up the backlog.

As mayor I’d advocate to further increase the allocation as well as focusing more on footpaths in our land use planning, grant applications and community partnerships.

Lauren Edwards (The Greens)

Naturally, safe and well maintained roads with less traffic congestion are important to us all. As the current council has already adopted the 2017/2018 operational plan and budget, the capital works program includes over $2 million in road resealing allocation and over $900,000 in road resurfacing funds.

The vital upgrade of Lake Road will receive another $1.8 million to continue works, Gordon Street over $800,000 and Hastings River Drive upgrades are allocated over $3 million.

Car parking does not appear to have received attention in this budget and needs be considered in town centre and business precinct planning…thank goodness many in our community stood up to retain the much needed Short Street car park.

Lauren Edwards

The orbital road modelling continues and the long awaited Ocean Drive duplication, having been through thorough study and planning protocols, seems will be reality within this delivery program.

Footpath construction has received funding allocation to the tune of $500,000 in 2017/2018 which will increase safe and convenient walking and cycleway options, and is clearly of real need and interest to the community, as was it in the Greens’ campaign last year and remains so.

Car parking does not appear to have received attention in this budget and needs be considered in town centre and business precinct planning…thank goodness many in our community stood up to retain the much needed Short Street car park.

Peta Pinson (independent)

The recent Port News poll results are a good indication of what the general population of the Port Macquarie Hastings area want. 

It is no surprise that roads, car parking and footpaths are at the top of the list. 

Our community has been telling council they want better delivery of services such as roads, footpaths and more parking for many years and yet the problem has continued to grow with the road infrastructure backlog reaching unmanageable figures in the hundreds of millions.

Car parking is now at a premium and council must address it in innovative ways without financially penalising our residents and visitors through fines.

Peta Pinson

Should council not find better and more timely ways of addressing the failing roads and inadequate footpaths to keep our pedestrians off the roads in our region, the incidence of costs on ratepayers and the extent of which charges may be ‘back-ended’ will place greater financial pressure on our future communities.

Car parking is now at a premium and council must address it in innovative ways without financially penalising our residents and visitors through fines.

On July 29 should I be elected, the community will benefit by having a mayor who has technical knowledge of road infrastructure, a fresh set of eyes on the issues and a commitment to working progressively on addressing council’s under-performance on the delivery of infrastructure projects.

Rob Turner (independent)

It’s not surprising roads, footpaths and car parking topped Port News readers’ list of local issues.

As mayor, I will ensure they remain at the top of council’s agenda.

My priorities for roads, car parking and footpaths:

- Continued funding of the highly successful town roads maintenance re-sealing program. Lake Cathie, Bonny Hills and parts of Laurieton have been done; Wauchope’s next.

- Diverting funds to rebuild and maintain major arterial roads.

It’s not surprising roads, footpaths and car parking topped Port News readers’ list of local issues.

Rob Turner

- Long-term planning and action on new road networks to reduce traffic congestion and travel times on key access roads and intersections.

- Partnering with state and federal governments to plan, fund and deliver critical long-term projects: the Lake Road upgrade; inner and outer orbital link roads (including upgrading airport access); the Ocean Drive regional road corridor; begin sealing our unsealed roads eg Bril Bril, Maria River, and Lorne Roads.

- car parking – Funding in this year’s operational plan will ease pressure in Port and Wauchope CBDs, Port’s industrial area and other hot spots.

- Footpaths – After concentrating on the three CBDs, continue council’s annual $500,000 footpath repair and building program - currently focused on village centres, and filling in missing-links in urban areas.

- Cycleway – A cycleway from the university-hospital precinct to Port CBD.