Local News

(l-r) Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis, Page MP Kevin Hogan and Clarence Valley Council mayor, Jim Simmons. Image: Contributed.

Bushfire money to build ‘unfunded’ roundabout

Geoff Helisma

The Australian and NSW governments have granted Clarence Valley Council $2.7million from the co-funded Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Yamba Road and Shores Drive.

The funding will fill a void left by CVC’s miscalculation regarding a $4,427,516 Restart NSW grant, which was awarded to CVC in February 2019.

Announcing the funding on the corner of Treelands Drive and Yamba Road in February 2019, Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said the “project will see the construction of three roundabouts along Yamba Road that will significantly decrease congestion particularly during peak tourist periods where traffic movements grow considerably”.

A fourth roundabout was also planned for an intersection at Palmers Island.

However, in February this year it was revealed that constructing the four roundabouts would cost an estimated $12,232,713, which included a 20 per cent contingency for “roundabouts to address some of the unknowns in this report”.

At that meeting councillors allocated $5,727,705 (the Restart grant and $1,300,189 from CVC’s Access Yamba fund) towards the construction of two roundabouts at the Yamba Road intersections with Treelands and Carrs drives.

The cost of the two roundabouts was amended at the May 2020 CVC meeting: councillors approved an extra $391,000 – “$115,000 from the sewer fund for sewer relocation works and $276,000 from the water fund for water relocation works associated with the Access Yamba project”.

It was also revealed at this meeting, that CVC’s initial grant application was based on installing traffic lights.

Ultimately councillors decided to “not proceed with roundabouts at Shores Drive and Yamba Road, and at Yamba Street and Yamba Road, Palmers Island”.

Promoting the grant announcement, Page MP Kevin Hogan said in a media release: “Yamba is one of the state’s premier tourist destinations; it is important that we improve traffic flow and make our roads safe.

“This project will support many jobs in our community, not only the construction workers, but in our food and retails shops, who benefit from having more tourists spending money locally.”

Mr Gulaptis said in the media release: “This latest injection of funding … will further improve access at this busy intersection for both locals and tourists visiting the popular coastal town.

“It is important to back projects that put people back in work, retain existing jobs and stimulate local economies.”

Mayor Jim Simmons said in the media release that the announcement of the grant “is a demonstration of the three levels of government working together”.

“This roundabout at Shores Drive, along with the roundabouts at Treelands and Carrs drives have been on council’s works program for many years and this additional funding will allow us to complete all the planned intersection treatments on Yamba Road.”