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Queanbeyan Council balks at borrowing money to lend to developers for the Ellerton Drive Extension

Following a motion by Councillors Sue Whelan and Jamie Cregan, Queanbeyan council voted in December to defer a proposal to borrow money for the developer component of the estimated cost of the Ellerton Drive/Edwin Land Parkway extensions.

That cost has been going up from an estimated $44 million a year ago, noted Councillor Brian Brown, to $75 million currently and still not finally settled. ($50 million has been pledged by state and federal governments).

The council staff recommendation was that an estimated $25 million in required developer contributions, largely from CIC – the developers of Googong estate and the proposed Jumping Creek subdivision – be fronted by council-borrowed money and paid back over a 20 year period as the developments evolve.

However councillor Whelan said there was not enough information attached to the proposal and council had to be very careful about getting the money back to repay the loan – with interest. “There is no proper costing at the moment,” she said. Sources also said that there was presently no written agreement with CIC on this matter.

Councillor Cregan seconded her motion saying council should not be going for a loan without a firm estimate of what the project would cost. Mayor Tim Overall rejoined that this would not be known until tenders were received.

Cregan also said community concerns had not been addressed – a theme expanded upon by Brown, (and earlier by a number of Karabar and Jerra residents who addressed council).

Fairlane resident Graham Franklin-Brown has told the Bulletin that as many as one third of Queanbeyan’s current residents may be adversely affected by this road project’s noise, increased traffic and loss of amenity and environmental values as it goes through suburbs and bushland.

“The community has not had a say,” insisted Brown. ”There have been no terms of reference put to the community. It was just engineers going forward and planning a road route and then putting it to the community as a done deal.”

However Mayor Overall vigorously defended the project saying the deferral had to be over quickly. He called the consultant report which is the Googong Tralee traffic study and the basis for the road route “the most definitive, sophisticated study that proves why we need this road” to avoid traffic gridlock as Queanbeyan grows.

He said he had been listening to objections for 10 years and claimed the road is the highest priority for Queanbeyan citizens in community surveys.

Councillor Peter Bray agreed the details were too light on the loan proposal, but supported the Mayor by saying he felt confident that the issue would be resolved and explained.

A later proposal by Councillor Brown for a feasibility study of the alternate Dunn’s Creek Road, favoured by the Jerrabomberra Residents Association, was knocked back. Council’s engineering department acknowledged that state money granted for a feasibility/design study of Dunn’s Creek road was no longer available, possibly used for other road projects.

Dunn’s Creek Rd would see Googong and Tralee traffic headed to Canberra avoiding the need to go down the Edwin Land parkway through Jerrabomberra to Lanyon Drive and is one part of the alternative routes that objectors to the current plan put forward.

Image of Graham Franklin-Brown.

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