Grant Funds Redirected to Key Local Road Repairs
Published on 24 March 2023
Australian Government grant funding is to be directed to the repair of four local roads.
The City of Coffs Harbour was successful in its bid to Phase 3 of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program and secured funds to the value of $2,764,192. Two of the 5 nominated projects – local road repairs and works at Clive Joass Sports Park – have been completed.
However, a subsequent review of the City’s capital expenditure program for the current financial year sought to move 3 of the grant-funded projects - Boambee Creek footbridge refurbishment, West Coffs Cycleway and Dalgety Street foot/cycle bridge - to a future program.
Since the deadline could not be met for these projects, the City has identified four further local road projects worth $960,000 that can be completed by the 30 June 2023 funding deadline. These are Reid Drive, Frances Street and Riding Lane in Coffs Harbour, and Lyons Road in Bonville.
Following Council’s approval of this amendment, a request will be forwarded for confirmation to the Australian Government.
“It is unfortunate that the deadline couldn’t be moved as the Boambee Creek footbridge is currently at the end of its life and will need to be closed due to public safety concerns if the works are not completed in the near future. It is currently costing at least $1,000 a month in ongoing maintenance costs just to keep it open,” said City of Coffs Harbour Mayor Paul Amos.
The planned upgrade would extend the life of the bridge by 10 to 15 years while the City investigates future options.
The footbridge is attached to the Railway Bridge over the Creek which is owned by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC). During the preliminary planning stage for the bridge works, the City contacted ARTC to gain approval for the maintenance works.
In an unprecedented move, ARTC then forwarded a licence agreement to the City requesting a fee of $25,000 for 5 years with an annual increase of 3%.
“This was surprising because, since its construction, the City has born the costs of maintenance of the footbridge and this is the first time we’ve ever been asked for a licencing fee. On that basis, we don’t propose to pay,” added Cr Amos.
The Local State Member has previously expressed his support for the refurbishment of the bridge, so it was resolved by Council to ask for his assistance in requesting a formal waiver of the licencing fee from ARTC.