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From roundabout to traffic lights is just a VPA away

When Clarence Valley Council (CVC) last week approved the construction of a service station on the corner of Treelands Drive and Yamba Road it was still unclear what method would be used to control traffic at the troublesome intersection.
The flagging of traffic lights as the answer, as opposed to long term planning prescribing a roundabout, was included in the development application’s conditional approval, as tabled at the meeting.
Which method is used will be the subject of a voluntary planning agreement (VPA) between the developer and CVC, for “the design & construction of the intersection treatment”.
Councillors decided to amend the condition, to provide a “signalised intersection”, and to include both options in the VPA, which must detail all associated construction costs – these costs must be current at the time the VPA is established.
Council staff had advised councillors in the report: “It has become apparent that a roundabout may not be the best traffic management device for this intersection; and in fact, may not fit within the area available and meet Australian standards.
“Traffic signals appear to be a better option, and this is supported by both the Development and Operations sections of engineering within Council.”
The developer/owner will be liable to pay eight per cent of the cost of the adopted option – the estimated increase in traffic as a result of the development.
Councillors decided that the VPA will be the subject of further consideration by July 31, 2018.
The report to council also stated: “The VPA is to be finalised prior to the issue of the Occupation Certificate for the service station.”
The council’s environment, planning and community director Des Schroder said he expects the VPA will be “put on display for comment” and that completion of the intersection’s design is scheduled in this financial year’s works program.
He said there is a lot of public interest. “Both the councillors and the community have a preference for a roundabout, but there’s no guarantee that will be the outcome,” he said.
Meanwhile, over the past two financial years, CVC has put aside $600,000 towards whatever is constructed at the intersection, which Mr Schroder said was likely to cost “over a million dollars – in that sort of range”.
On how and when the convergence of the service station’s and the intersection’s completion dates would be managed, the report to council stated: “While the service station will likely commence operation … within a shorter period of time, the design of the intersection can commence in the immediate future.
“The VPA should be finalised, and the contribution paid prior to commencement of the use.”