Fast Buck$, Coorabell
When a development is worth over $20M, it is deemed to be of ‘State Significance’. It is then a regional panel (NRPP) that determines the outcome, not the local council.
During the hearing for that large commercial development outside Bangalow a couple of years ago, a council staff member explained that the $20M criterion refers to actual construction costs, and does not include planning, architects’ or consultants’ costs etc.
Press the rewind button and readers will recall that when the bypass was first costed about five or six years ago, a figure of $10.5M was put about. Later that figure grew to $20.5, on the face of it enough to qualify it for the NRPP subsequently we’ve heard figures of $22.5M and $25M, so I have asked the mayor for an update and a breakdown – much to his annoyance; he hates questions.
My point is that it has recently emerged that the bypass contractor Hazell Bros is being paid around $14M to do the entire job. In other words the total construction costs are well under $20M, meaning that the matter should have been resolved by council, not the JRPP. The mayor may have an explanation.
I note that one benefit of going via the NRPPis that elected councillors tend to wash their hands of the matter and therefore remain ignorant of the nitty-gritty.
I challenged them last week with the proposition that not a single one of them had looked at the bypass consent conditions, which was met with silence. I also challenged them with the proposition that they weren’t elected to leave the big decisions to others. More silence.