Wingecarribee Shire Mayor Councillor Ken Halstead and Council’s General Manager Ann Prendergast have responded to an open letter penned by Mr Hewson in the Southern Highland News.
Dated Friday 6 April 2018, the letter raises a number of issues regarding Council’s proposed upgrade of Station Street in Bowral.
“While Mr Hewson is entitled to his opinion, we thought it important that the letter’s factual inaccuracies be addressed,” the Mayor said.
Within the letter Mr Hewson mentions the possibility of project cost overruns.
“The full costings of Council’s contribution towards the proposed Station Street Upgrade Project were detailed in Council’s draft budget which was endorsed for public exhibition by Councillors on Tuesday evening.
“This can now be viewed online at Council’s dedicated Community Engagement website.”
“Mr Hewson also makes a number of statements regarding the purported loss of car spaces when the project is completed,” the Mayor added.
Council reminds residents that there will be a nett loss of less than 10 car spaces as a result of the proposed Station Street Upgrade project.
Around 30 spaces will remain at the front of the train station. The existing all day parking facilities provided by Council opposite Memorial Park will be relocated from their current position to Kirkham Road where a new footpath, lighting and access to the northbound platform and town centre will be provided.
Additional parking facilities will also be made alongside Memorial Park under the Pin Oaks.
The General Manager also reassured residents about the future of the significant trees at the northern entry to Bowral.
“Council’s pre-construction plan identifies that only two of the 15 Pin Oaks at the northern entrance will be removed,” she said. “These trees lie very close to or within the footprint of the new road.”
“The remaining 13 Pin Oaks and semi-mature trees planted within the Memorial Park vicinity are to be retained.”
“The majority of the trees to be removed lie at the southern end of Station Street within the new road alignment, others have been excessively pruned, are malformed, declining in health or are self-seeded environmental weeds or saplings,” Ms Prendergast said. “It should also be stressed that close to 100 suitable advanced trees will be planted at the end of construction to offset any removals.”
Mayor Halstead further reiterated the long-term goals of the project.
“The proposed Station Street Upgrade Project has been designed to alleviate growing traffic congestion in Bowral’s town centre,” he said.
“As Mr Hewson points out in his letter, this project has been on the local agenda for almost 40 years,” he added.
“This Council is committed to providing critical infrastructure for its residents.
“We would much prefer to rectify this growing issue instead of handing the problem onto our children for them to debate in years to come,” the Mayor said.
“I would encourage anyone with genuine concerns to visit Council’s dedicated Community Engagement website at www.yoursaywingecarribee.com.au/SSU.
“Here you can see for yourself the project facts and details and make up your own mind about our vision for an even more beautiful Bowral.”