Central Coast Mayor, Jane Smith, put Coast MPs in the hotseat regarding election promises made prior to recent State and Federal elections, when she hosted the first in a series of forums on June 21.
Smith said the first forum focused on roads and shared pathways due to their high priority in the community and high levels of funding promised during both elections.
She said the best way to ensure community priorities were delivered for the region was to bring all levels of government together with a common purpose and commitment.
“It was really productive to have our Central Coast State and Federal representatives in the one room,” Smith said.
“What is clear to me from listening to successes in other regions and also the work that is happening in preparing Council’s Economic Development Strategy, is that regions prosper when we can all get behind key projects and activities.
“I am hoping this is the first of many such forums where we can come together to discuss the pressing issues facing our region, find common ground and consensus to help solve them, and take the region forward.”
During the May 18 Federal election campaign, more than $70m was committed in local roads funding, with close to $400m pledged to improve the network of state roads on the Coast in the lead-up to the State Election on March 23.
In Council’s own recently adopted Operational Plan for 2019-20, almost a quarter of the budget, 23.68%, will be spent on roads, $112.28m operational and $74.97m in capital works.
At the forum, Council staff presented on how road upgrades are prioritised, innovation in road delivery, and the region’s first integrated Bike Plan and Pedestrian and Mobility Plan (PAMP) which includes shared pathways and footpaths.
The plan aims to provide a coordinated network of shared pathways right around the Coast and Smith said combined Council, State and Federal funding was crucial to completing the missing links and creating a more active and connected community.
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) provided information on current works underway on the Coast including: The M1; Pacific Hwy upgrade through Lisarow; The Entrance Rd at Long Jetty; Brisbane Water Dve at Point Clare; and, Empire Bay Dve at Kincumber.
RMS planning is also underway on priority projects for the Central Coast: Pacific Hwy and Manns Rd (Lisarow to Narara and then Narara to West Gosford); Blackwall Rd and Memorial Ave in Woy Woy; The Warnervale Link Rd; Central Coast Hwy from Wamberal to Bateau Bay; and Pacific Hwy through Wyong.
MPs attending were: Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks (Federal); Member for Dobell, Emma McBride (Federal); Senator Deborah O’Neill; Member for Wyong, David Harris (State); Member for The Entrance, David Mehan (State); Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch (State); and, Taylor Martin MLC.
Minister for Regional Roads and Transport, Paul Toole, was represented by RMS Director, Anna Zycki.
Among priorities identified by MPs were: Pathways (completing missing links, improving connectivity and disability inclusiveness); protecting environmental areas; looking after and tidying up road networks; parking (commuter and in town centres); drainage upgrades; other transport options and modes of transport; and greater utilisation of community facilities.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from Council about their priority projects and importantly to discuss the rollout of some key commitments like our $70m road package announced as part of the Federal Election,” Wicks said.
Mehan said council was to be commended for the initiative.
“I enjoyed the opportunity to work collectively and cooperatively with my colleagues for the benefit of the Central Coast,” he said.
Tesch said Council’s online interactive map of roads and drainage projects was an “excellent tool to quickly show everyone local upgrades underway in their area”.
Media release, Jun 24
Central Coast Mayor, Jane Smith