Large gathering of Estella residents rejects controversial Wagga Integrated Transport Strategy

Estella residents pack a meeting room in Settlers Village for Wednesday night's meeting with Wagga City Councillors. Picture: Contributed
Estella residents pack a meeting room in Settlers Village for Wednesday night's meeting with Wagga City Councillors. Picture: Contributed

ESTELLA residents at one of their largest community meetings have roundly rejected a transport study they fear will cruel future development and create traffic problems in the booming northern Wagga suburb.

About 160 people were attracted to a question and answer session with Wagga City Councillors at Settler’s Village on Wednesday night, whereas regular resident meetings normally attracted about 40 people, said the president of the Estella Progress Association, Graham Cotter.

Mr Cotter said residents rejected the $240,000 Wagga Integrated Transport Study’s recommendations that affected them, including abandoning plans to duplicate the Gobbagombalin Bridge, removing a left-hand turn onto Travers Street off the bridge and closing the intersection of Old Narrandera Road and the Olympic Highway.

“The general consensus from the residents is that people are pretty unhappy with the document,” Mr Cotter said.

“The residents are also concerned the document does not address other issues, such as upgrading roads like Farrer Road and other intersections that need to be upgraded.”

Mr Cotter said it was stated at the meeting people understood there might not be an immediate need to upgrade the Gobba Bridge, but they believed it needed to happen.

“We need to get the wheels of planning rolling now, not in five to 10 years when there is an immediate need,” Mr Cotter said.

“A number of councillors agreed with that.”

He said closing off Old Narrandera Road and Travers Street would just move the traffic to other intersections.

Wagga mayor Greg Conkey addresses the Estella residents meeting. Picture: Contributed

Wagga mayor Greg Conkey addresses the Estella residents meeting. Picture: Contributed

Mayor Greg Conkey, one of seven councillors at the meeting, heard the residents loud and clear.

“They were not shy in expressing their views,” Councillor Conkey said.

He also described the opinions put to councillors as pretty blunt, and said residents were “certainly vocal” about some aspects of the plan.

The mayor urged people to remember the status of the controversial transport blueprint, which has also says Wagga has an oversupply of parking and suggests a “smooth flowing network is of virtually no benefit to the city”.

“People have to remember it’s a report to council, not a council report,” Cr Conkey said.

He said public submissions on the strategy would be open until March 31.

Mr Cotter said there was some confusion about exactly was planned for the sporting precinct on Charles Sturt University land and what was planned for the Estella residential area.

Mr Cotter said other issues discussed at the meeting with councillors were the proposed shopping centre and nearby public school, as well as construction and maintenance of parks and gardens.

Estella Progress Association president Graham Cotter speaks to the residents meeting watched by Wagga City Councillors, from left: Paul Funnell, Yvonne Braid, Greg Conkey, Vanessa Keenan, Kerry Pascoe, Tim Koschel and Dan Hayes. Councillors Dallas Tout and Rod Kendall were apologies for the meeting. Picture: Contributed

Estella Progress Association president Graham Cotter speaks to the residents meeting watched by Wagga City Councillors, from left: Paul Funnell, Yvonne Braid, Greg Conkey, Vanessa Keenan, Kerry Pascoe, Tim Koschel and Dan Hayes. Councillors Dallas Tout and Rod Kendall were apologies for the meeting. Picture: Contributed