NOWRA CBD property owner Bill Hancock will move Shoalhaven City Council abandons plans for a loop road and the expense of a "non-viable" multi-storied car park as proposed in the Nowra CBD Master Plan.
This and other issues will be discussed at a meeting in Nowra this Saturday (September 21) to discuss the future of the Nowra CBD and some of the proposed developments for the area, called by Shoalhaven City Councillor Nina Digiglio and local resident Bill Hancock.
Mr Hancock who has owned a property in the CBD for a number of years believes the loop road plan would further divide the Nowra CBD, which is already at a "crisis point".
The master plan includes a planned loop road turning sections of North, Osborne and Douglas streets into four-lane clearways.
The plans show a loop road takes in North, Osborne and Douglas streets and actually jumps the highway joining to yet to be constructed extension of Wallace Street before looping around the rear of Stockland shopping centre to North Street to again.
Mr Hancock believes pursuing the loop road would be rash and quite rushed.
However, he said council's minutes of the Strategy and Assets Committee on June 11, 2019, even outlined the plan.
"The minutes read... 'In the future, North Street will be converted to a 4-lane road, with additional signalised intersections at Graham Street, O'Keeffe Ave and the Princes Highway. The future road upgrades will ultimately require the removal of all on street parking along North Street from the highway to Bridge Road, at each successive upgrade (like the current proposed traffic signals project at North Street/Kinghorne Street'.
"The master plan has short falls, the loop road is one," he said.
"There should not be another clearway splitting the CBD.
"It would further isolate the CBD from the river and that should not be one of council's aims.
"The East Street by-pass has already made its disruptive presence felt in dividing the town centre which should include the Stocklands precinct. Now the only feasible solution to that problem will be to make the construction of the western Nowra bypass the first priority."
He said the Draft Nowra CBD Master Plan recommendations have never been tested for technical merit.
"That was intended for stage two of the master plan process at the time of preparing the report (November 2015)," he said.
"Stage two has not been started and council has since adopted the master plan."
Mr Hancock said the plan indicates that the loop road would go straight into St Michael's School traffic zone, pass the entrance of Osborne House aged care facility and a proposed housing development across the road, before entering the school zones at Nowra Infants and Nowra Primary, have to cross the highway and then skirt another school area to the rear of Nowra East Public before travelling across the former Nowra High playing ovals back to North Street.
"By my reading this would add at least another two sets of traffic lights to the already congested highway, meaning eight roundsabouts and nine traffic light intersections for 17 traffic flow disruptors within a distance of nine kilometres.
"That's a traffic disruptor every 535 metres.
"It's no wonder the Nowra stretch of the Princes Highway is known as a "varicose vein".
Mr Hancock said the advent of the internet, how people shop is changing quickly; people are savvier with technology and very mobile, and for CBD shopping to survive it must become more about the experience, similar to spending a day at the beach.
"Nowra CBD is now facing a few challenges, its decaying and entrepreneurs have lost confidence, however a positive investment from council would likely trigger investment from business and building owners," he said.
"If council cannot show its backing its own town by being prepared to boost the confidence of those looking to develop, then the CBD will continue to decay and die.
"For the CBD to compete it must become a place where people want to head to, somewhere they want to spend some time in, a place where people can socialise, do business in safety and be free from hassling with, and being dominated by high volumes of traffic.
"The CBD environment must become a place where the motor vehicle is secondary to people, but the car is still freely and easily accessible.
"I'm a supporter of democratic administration and keeping the public (ratepayers) Informed.
"I'm convinced the present system managing the CBD needs changing, and a rethink needs to consider how the management of successful commercial shopping centres operate."
Mr Hancock also took aim at the state government saying North Street traffic was being exacerbated by private and emergency vehicles accessing Shoalhaven Hospital.
"If the state intends to upgrade the Shoalhaven Hospital it should include a priority road from the highway to specifically access the hospital," he said.
He proposes a road off Bridge Road across vacant land behind the Nowra Pool complex to join up with Hyam Street and into the hospital.
"And that should be at the state government's cost."
He said the increasing volume of 'rat-run' traffic utilising Berry Street and Bridge Road as a supposed short cut, especially during Christmas, Easter and public holidays also needs to be addressed.
These and other items including the retention of period housing, Shoalhaven Community Pre-School and public reserves, helicopter flight paths and Shoalhaven Hospital development eroding the river escarpment, Ben's Walk and Aboriginal history, are also on the meeting's agenda.
The meeting will be held at the Nowra Library meeting room starting at 2.30pm.