The troubled saga of the Yamba roundabouts revealed another expense, one that some local pundits saw coming, when a recently constructed wall at Yamba Fair was demolished to make way for the roundabout’s construction at the Treelands Drive/Yamba Road intersection.
The new roundabout has also triggered the repositioning of vents at the new service station.
Historically, a roundabout was flagged for the intersection by the former Maclean shire council, and a “preliminary investigations into the installation of a roundabout” was tabled at the February 2012 Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting.
In May 2016, a roundabout was raised in the development application (DA) for the now completed service station.
“As this development is only one of many developments in the area that contribute towards the need for a roundabout, it is reasonable that development contributions remain in proportion to the additional traffic generated by the service station,” the DA proposed.
The service station was approved in July 2017, however, the intersection’s treatment – lights or roundabout – would be the subject of a voluntary planning agreement, with councillors eventually reversing a decision to install lights in September 2018 (after the August decision) and, instead, constructing a non-conforming roundabout “with an estimated cost of up to $500,000”, with service station developer, Clarence Property, contributing eight per cent of the cost.
The developer, however, did not have to pay extra when it was revealed the roundabout would cost far more than the estimated $500,000.
Councillor Richie Williamson said at the time: “At $500,000 the developers certainly are [happy], because they’ve paid their eight per cent contribution on 500k … they’ve got a reduction in their development charges and that’s how it is…”
Clarence Property also owns the wall that was demolished and is currently under reconstruction.
In February this year it came as a surprise to several councillors that the initial application for a Restart NSW grant included traffic lights at both the Treelands Drive and Carrs Drive intersections.
Come May this year, the full extent of CVC’s miscalculation was made apparent: CVC had won a $4,427,516 Restart NSW grant to construct four roundabouts (three in Yamba and one at Palmers Island), however, it was revealed that there was a “funding shortfall of over $6million for the adopted roundabout projects in their current form”.
The outcome: a revised budget for two of the four Yamba roundabouts (the other at Carrs Drive/Yamba Road) stood at $6,070,433, made up of the Restart NSW Grant and $1,642,917 from CVC.
The Independent asked CVC to clarify what had happened in regard to its overseeing of the two development applications – the service station and the Yamba Fair wall – while being aware that the construction of a roundabout was imminent, and asked:
• Please explain how this was allowed to occur?
• Please quantify how much this has added to the cost of the roundabout?
The council’s general manager, Ashley Lindsay, emailed the following response: “Developer contributions: The September 2018 business paper included staff’s recommendation that the Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) contribution be set at 8%.
“The 8% contribution was for the full cost for ‘the future design and installation of a roundabout or traffic signals at the intersection of Treelands Drive and Yamba Road’.
“The elected Council ultimately capped the contribution (of 8%) applied to an upper fixed cost of $500,000.
“Vent stacks: The VPA required the developer to dedicate the required land to Council for the intersection upgrade.
“The Construction Certificate (CC) including the location of the vent stacks, [which] was approved by a private certifier (PCA).
“During construction of the service station the vents and a sign identified as too close to the intersection and, through negotiation, were moved further away.
“The final detailed design of the intersection then highlighted that the vents, whilst not affecting the physical construction, were in the sightlines of motorists by approx 1.5m.”
“The cost to relocate them was included in the tendered contract value noting that the cost was contained in the confidential tender report and therefore not explicitly included here.
“Wall: The DA for the wall was approved by the elected Council.
“At the time of the approval it is understood the intersection upgrade was to include traffic lights not a roundabout.
“The wall was built subsequent to the decision by Council to change the intersection treatment to a roundabout.
“The demolition and relocation of the wall was again included in the tendered contract and is not explicitly noted here for commercial in confidence reasons.
“I would also note that the majority of funding to construct the roundabout/s are derived from State Govt grants.”