Wingecarribee Shire Mayor Councillor Duncan Gair has today called on the NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure to intervene and expedite final consent for the Station Street Upgrade Project.
“After 40 years of waiting for a solution to the growing traffic congestion in Bowral’s town centre I think it’s fair to say everybody’s patience is wearing thin,” he said.
Construction of the $15.075 million infrastructure project is pending final negotiations with the acquisition of a parcel of land within the existing car park at Bowral Train Station.
“I respectfully ask that the NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance now step in and help clear this final hurdle and give the residents of our Shire some assurance,” the Mayor said.
“The irony is that it was the initial support from the Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward and the subsequent $7.5 million in funding from the NSW Government’s Restart NSW Illawarra Infrastructure Fund that rejuvenated this project.
“However it’s now the same State Government presenting this final obstacle which in turn is not only delaying the project but diminishing the impact of the original grant funding and contributing to the inevitable increase in project costs.
“It’s also interesting to note that at the same time that funding was announced for our $15.075 million proposed upgrade of Station Street, approval was also granted for the $580 million Berry Bypass.
“That 12.5 kilometre project was completed in 2017, a full 12 months ahead of schedule, and now works have begun on the even larger Albion Park Rail Bypass.
“At the same time bureaucracy continues to hold up one of the most important infrastructure improvement projects Bowral has ever seen.”
“And while Mr Ward and his team championed the project in 2013, the same sadly cannot be said for the newly-endorsed Liberal candidate for Wollondilly who has remained strangely quiet on the subject.”
Mayor Gair said while he appreciated some sections of the community were concerned about loss of car spaces, he urged residents to look at the greater benefits of the project.
“We acknowledge that a small number of car spaces will be lost on the train station property and others will be relocated to the Memorial Park precinct and to adjacent Kirkham Road,” he said. “This may mean that commuters may have to walk an extra 50 or 100 metres to their vehicle than present.”
“However it must be stressed that one of the over-arching goals of this project is to protect and enhance the long-term viability and prosperity of the Bowral CBD and its immediate surrounds.
“It’s important to remember too that this project is not a new idea and has in fact been supported by successive Councils since the 1970’s.
“The majority of current Councillors remain committed to providing critical infrastructure for the residents of our Shire.
“We believe that to leave the growing problem of ever-increasing traffic congestion in our Shire’s major town for our children to deal with should not be an option and if left unchecked will only become more expensive to resolve in years to come.”