SHOALHAVEN City councillor Andrew Guile has dismissed as laughable Cr Jemma Tribe’s claim he was “bulldozing” the opening of Junction Court to traffic through council.
Both Cr Guile and Cr Tribe have deplored the revamp of the Nowra CBD pedestrian mall, which has seen it open as a pedestrian-only public space before becoming a shared zone, but for different reasons.
Cr Tribe opposed opening the space to traffic after stage one; Cr Guile pushed for it to be opened as a proper road, not a shared zone.
Since being reopened to traffic, the space has been the focus of intense controversy, with pedestrians confused about how to cross and council deploying staff in high-visibility vests to guide them.
It has also sparked a war of words between the councillors.
“It is no secret that I have just one vote out of 13 on this council and you don't have to look very far to see the delight Cr Tribe and her mates take in voting down every positive initiative for the Nowra CBD that I put forward,” Cr Guile said on Monday.
“Yet when a project like this goes pear shaped as I have been warning for some time, their response is to blame me. It's hard to believe but in a council ruled by politics not unexpected.
“Cr Tribe from the outset of her time on council has sought to meddle in this project to the point where it is now a complete stuff-up. This stuff-up is not the decision to open it to traffic, but rather the two years of flip flopping over what should happen in the location – open-close-open-close.”
Cr Tribe flagged her intention to oppose a motion put Cr Guile that the number of community events staged in Junction Court, necessitating its closure, be capped.
“Her latest rescission motion is to effectively close up Junction Court again by always having it closed. If it is going to be closed, then it is going to take a lot more money to rip out all that equipment. It is throwing good money after bad.”
Cr Guile said he fully understood the appeal of the revamped Junction Court before it was opened to traffic but maintained it had been “erroneously delivered”. He said providing significant public recreation space in the CBD had to be a priority.