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Prince Street corner with Bacon Street initial concept design: widen footpaths, trial nose in parking, bike racks, traffic calming.

Grafton traffic trial irritates as it begins

Geoff Helisma

Clarence Valley Council’s (CVC) Grafton CBD Plan and Transport Strategy trial got off to a shaky start at the April 27 CVC meeting where ‘debate’ highlighted an allegation by unnamed businesses – directly affected by the nose-in parking trial – that they had not been consulted.

Mayor Jim Simmons, Cr Arthur Lysaught and Cr Richie Williamson said that they had been contacted prior to the meeting. Cr Lysaught said “two irate” business owners “rang today”, saying that CVC had made “no representation to them”. “If that’s the case I feel this should be deferred … I find it incredible no one would contact them,” he said.

Mayor Simmons said that a person who contacted him had “indicated he had made contact with council and was given an assurance [someone] would phone back; but [they] never did.” Cr Williamson said he “counselled” a business owner and advised him that “he should make a submission”. Environment and community director Des Schroder said the council had spoken “extensively” with the Grafton Chamber of Commerce.

General manager Ashley Lindsay said, “The concept was presented to the most recent chamber meeting and there was a full house. “I’m surprised they were not contacted; there will be an impact on those businesses – I was under the impression all businesses where the trial is [being conducted] were contacted.”

Cr Andrew Baker said “any adversely affected” businesses could lodge submissions and try to influence our [final] decision, in due course”. Cr Karen Toms was pro nose-in parking, saying “backing in is dangerous for people with disabilities” and that nose-in parking “works in Yamba”. Cr Richie Williamson said he was against nose-in parking, but was “willing to give it a go” for the trial and that it would “take some convincing” for him to change his opinion.

Mayor Simmons said, “It concerns me a bit; the matter of the blisters.” All councillors, apart from Cr Lysaught, voted in favour of the trial: “Support two temporary trials of CBD activation to promote the Grafton CBD Plan and Transport Strategy, including widening footpaths, trialling nose in parking, landscaping safety measures, along with cyclist, pedestrian, and aesthetic improvements…”

Supporting documents, which can be downloaded from CVC’s website, are on exhibition until June 4 – “all submissions, analysis, and recommendations will be reported to council at the July council meeting”.