Lismore City Council (LCC) has taken a novel approach to dealing with its urgent roadworks by voting to ‘borrow’ money internally to bring forward projects awaiting promised Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) funding.
The affected roads include Dunoon Road at Tullera, Blue Knob Road and Wyrallah Road.
The RMS has allocated 50 per cent funding for a number of LCC regional roads for 2012/13 and beyond, which is allocated in portions over several years.
But councillors believe considerable money could be saved if the roadworks were brought forward as the roads are continuing to deteriorate.
Cr David Yarnall moved for the holding costs associated with the proposal to be funded via the Roads Budget, with Council internally funding the program for the full $515,000 in the current year. RMS will be asked to agree to the program and to reimburse council its share of $250,000 in 2014/15.
Cr Graham was the only councillor to vote against the motion.
Cr Meineke asked Garry Hemsworth, Council’s executive director of infrastructure services, if he could confirm the RMS’s offer.
Mr Hemsworth responded, ‘We have had preliminary discussions with the RMS, which look hopeful, but there has been no formal commitment’.
Cr Smith was excited about this motion going through, saying that this was the best roads motion he had seen in four years.
‘We should be putting pressure back onto the state government and fixing the roads quicker and saying we have the capacity and want to do more on our roads,’ he said.
Cr Clough shared in the excitement, saying, ‘I believe this is going to be one of the turning points for this council. It is obvious we can’t do business as usual; we have to change.’
Although Cr Battista supported the motion he had some concerns.
‘This is not solving the problem of better roads in our LGA, only bringing it forward.’
Cr Yarnall addressed concerns over the selection process of roads to be repaired under this project.
‘I consulted with staff and they have assured me that the roads being brought forward are the worst sections… it is unfortunate, however, that the second round of funding will be postponed.’
Cr Yarnall nodded to the elephant in the room as it was suggested this motion was vote oriented.
‘Just because there is an election coming up doesn’t mean we should not address this issue. This is something new, let’s have a crack!’