City bike plan off track
Wagga Wagga City Council is on the wrong track. It is of considerable concern that at the last meeting council resolved to support the construction of the (eastern) Forest Hill link of the active transport network along the residential footpath easement of Kooringal Road and Kyeamba Avenue.
This is rather than make use of the existing rail corridor from Equex to Forest Hill.
This means that WWCC has chosen to adopt the most expensive route, the longest and least direct, the least safe, with the highest level of community impacts and with little or no appeal to the major user groups.
It is purely the route of least resistance.
The Active Transport Plan for Wagga Wagga was funded by the state government to provide a commuter network for the city.
It is doubtful if the proposed route now even satisfies the stated objectives of providing for commuter use for active transport and certainly has no appeal or benefits to our city.
All cycle users, except the Wagga Wagga City Council planners, realise that commuters from the CBD will not use the proposed footpath route of Kooringal Road and Kyeamba Avenue to commute to and from Forest Hill and they will continue to use the quicker and more direct route of Copland Street. In making this decision the council has acceded to the representations of one farm neighbour and they have also just accepted without question the stated policy of the NSW government concerning adaptive re-use of rail corridors.
The stated objections by local neighbouring farmers have never been subjected to proper question and validation in order to reach a required negotiated and mutually acceptable resolution.
These farmer objections have been raised and satisfactorily resolved over hundreds of kilometres of rail trail in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Why not Wagga Wagga? The current status of the rail corridor is that it is owned by the NSW government and managed in its entirety by a company, John Holland, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of a Chinese company. The land is not owned nor leased by any adjoining neighbour.
The council has also simply accepted the current policy of the NSW government regarding re-use of rail corridors. Our council, rather than act, has said "let's wait and see".
Wagga Wagga City Council, whilst having "discussions", has never formally resolved that council proposes to make use of the rail corridor and has never used such a resolution to support its formal negotiation with neighbours or as the basis for a request for representations by our local member to the premier. The community would like to know why the council is apparently prepared to negotiate a deal with John Holland regarding access to just a selected portion of the rail corridor but not to other more critical sections of the corridor?
It is obvious to many in the community that the eastern route adopted by Wagga Wagga City Council is a poor outcome for achieving the benefits of a well located and constructed active transport system that actually meets the commuting needs of the community. The views and needs of the community must be given priority. Over 2200 submissions by petition to Wagga Wagga City Council from the community have rejected the proposed eastern route which was adopted by council.
DW Glastonbury, Wagga
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