THE revelation that RMS is asking the Shaolin developers to pay for a flyover bridge at the intersection of the Princes Highway and Forest Road at Falls Creek has sparked debate among Shoalhaven City councillors.
Former mayor Greg Watson, who was instrumental in persuading the Shaolin monks to develop a temple in the Shoalhaven said it was unbelievable that RMS is trying to hang an overpass over the Princes Highway and Forest Road on the Shaolin Temple development.
“The entry point for the temple is seven kilometres down Forest Road,” he said.
“Once again this is the RMS, in my view, trying to exploit an opportunity to milk a developer to provide facilities which they themselves would not construct.
“A rough estimate of the cost of such a structure is $20 million.
“Up front they are saying the Shaolin Temple developers should do the design and undertake the necessary land acquisition and then enter into a binding agreement.
“How does a private company or trust as this is, acquire land from private individuals for a public purpose?”
With another agency also pushing for a tree study to be undertaken on the property Cr Watson said it was time government agencies were hauled into line.
“This really needs to be a wake-up call to Barry O’Farrell and the rest of the NSW government to haul agencies into line otherwise NSW will soon stop being an attractive investment location,” Cr Watson said.
Fellow councillor Andrew Guile said he didn’t think it was unreasonable for the state government to make such demands on the temple developers.
“On the one hand we have argued for years that the Princes Highway is our major transport artery and that it should receive significant investment to maintain safety and efficiency. Now we are lobbying for a developer to reduce both of these factors to get their $370 million project across the line,” Cr Guile said.
“A council director makes the point that the Jervis Bay intersection has only a seagull treatment and that this should justify similar treatment for the Forest Road intersection.
“However, if we were building the Jervis Bay intersection for today’s highway conditions, would we settle for second best?
“We should be lobbying for safer and more efficient intersections along the entire route of the Princes Highway.
“Grade separation at Jervis Bay Road should be on our priority list rather than asking for yet another substandard strategy.
“Funding such infrastructure is a legitimate cost that large scale developers should cover rather than the taxpayer footing the bill.
“South Coast residents don’t want more accidents on the Princes Highway or reduced speed limits to take account of dangerous conditions.
“We need to design this properly from the outset. Building grade separation also adds weight to any request to upgrade the Jervis Bay Road intersection.”
Quarry turned tip
IT appears that a disused quarry on the Comberton Grange property has been turned into an illegal dumping ground, despite promises 12 months ago that it would be cleaned up.
Located between Falls Creek and Callala, the Comberton Grange quarry was once a source for sandstone used in Shoalhaven Council road construction projects, but it has more recently become the home of rubbish dumped on the site including un-wanted council assets such as a vandalised site shed, guide posts and even an un-loved Santa Clause decoration.