Forever car dependent
With great fanfare the LNP last Wednesday announced a $960 million commitment for the Princes Highway. While welcome, it still lacks the forward thinking needed to properly improve transport infrastructure needed in the Shoalhaven and the South Coast.
Over $1.7 billion has already been spent (or committed) on the Princes Highway between Kiama and Nowra, while zero has been spent on upgrading the rail line for passenger services between Kiama and Bomaderry.
Forty million dollars was invested by the NSW Government to increase the axle load limit on the South Coast Line to 25 tonnes, allowing heavier, faster trains. This was heralded as "good news" for motorists and a win for the environment as fewer trucks means longer lasting road infrastructure and less carbon pumped into the atmosphere. We are yet to see this actually happening as our highway is as busy and heavily transported as ever.
Then it was announced in May 2018 that the bus service was to run for another year and while these buses fill in some of the gaps in the timetable, it is still a Band-Aid solution as the buses only run at certain times between Monday and Friday, with no buses on weekends and public holidays. We may also be a bit cynical with the announcement electric buses will replace diesel buses and no announcement electric trains will replace diesel trains.
We mentioned in a letter to the SCR on May 16, 2018 that the FIX IT NOW campaign should not only focus on Yallah to the north to the border of Victoria but support the Princes Highway Corridor Strategy that listed in its vision support for public transport connectivity between the lower Illawarra and the South Coast. Both these objectives could run together and complement each other. Now it would seem the South Coast has been doomed by the LNP government to be permanently car dependent and be forever lumbered with B-doubles up to even B-quadruples as they between more common in future.
A proper costing to update the South Coast Line between Kiama and Bomaderry for passenger services should now be a priority for whoever wins the state election.
P. David, Greenwell Point
Anson Street battles on
There is a Land and Environment Court hearing set to be held in May 2019 that will decide on the proposal to build 14 blocks of four-storey flats in Anson Street at St Georges Basin. All comments have been made on this but there is still a chance to give a greater message to the court.
Shoalhaven City Council has a Planning Proposal interested people can comment on. Planning Proposal 023 is to lower the heights permitted on the building blocks within the proposed four-storey flats area in Anson Street If approved, it could be an arguing point in the hearing in May.
At the moment 13 metres are permitted but if Planning Proposal 023 is approved Lots 1 and Lot 6 DP1082382 will be changed to allow only 8 and 8.5 metre heights.
Its been a long journey for the Basin Villages Forum’s Anson Street Activists working toward stopping such a huge development proposal that could change the lives of those people living in St Georges Basin and impact on surrounding areas.
The developer has been stalled on a number of occasions by the determined effort of the activists and the concerns of the local community and other residents who understand this type of development does not fit in and does not have the infrastructure to be supported.
While there has been criticism of Shoalhaven City Council and the councillors who caused this travesty, council is working with the community to achieve a successful outcome. A simple ‘Support of this Planning Proposal’ by concerned people could make the difference. Comment to council by March 29.