Split decision as Yamba gets answer on intersection upgrade
IT WAS a debate of safety versus money, traffic light versus round about, but at the end of the night, it was one person who decided the future of the Yamba Rd and Treelands Dr intersection.
Mayor Jim Simmons was the final person to speak on the matter at the Clarence Valley Council meeting where discussions and debate over the issue lasted more than two hours.
But after discussions came to a head, a decision to install traffic lights at the proposed intersection was passed, following a 5-4 split vote.
Cr Simmons change of heart from last week's committee meeting was a deciding factor.
"I was one of the councillors who voted for the roundabout, at the time I did indicate that I might change my vote at the council meeting," Simmons said.
"My concern at the time was the cost. Should council go for the roundabout, there is no guarantee that they will receive the subsidy from the state government.
"Regardless of that, I think (council) has to excercise some responsibility regardless of where the funds come from."
Councillors debated at length about a pending government grant that would give the council access to $6.3 million for the upgrade of three intersections along Yamba Rd.
While some councillors argued that this would give them the funding for the roundabout option, others refuted that if they didn't get the grant, they would have to come up with the $3.5million for the roundabout.
Cr Peter Ellem attempted to defer the decision with a motion to wait for the outcome of the grant, but pressure from an agreement made 13 months ago meant council was already a month late to present the developer of the petrol station on the corner of Treelands Dr and Yamba Rd with an answer to upgrading the intersection.
The developer will be required to pay a percentage of the upgrade costs and were unable to start development until a decision was made on the intersection.
Cr Arthur Lysaught, who proposed the motion that would see the traffic lights approved, said council needed to make a smart decision and act with due diligence in regards to the cost of the project.
With the roundabout pegged to cost $3.5 million and the traffic lights $500,000 Cr Lysaught said what it would mean if there was no grant from the government.
"It's a large amount of money on a whim, when the cheaper option adequately covers the needs at this point in time," he said.
"There is only one option with this intersection."
Councillors Kingsley, Williamson, Lysaught, Baker and Simmons voted in favour of the Yamba Rd traffic lights.