Tension over Keiraville-Gwynneville traffic study

Wollongong council has been forced to make a clarification over the proposed Keiraville-Gwynneville traffic study.
Wollongong council has been forced to make a clarification over the proposed Keiraville-Gwynneville traffic study.

Wollongong City Council has denied it chose not to fund a crucial traffic study of the Keiraville-Gwynneville area in the hope residents would do it themselves.

Council was forced to make the clarification after residents discovered a curious notation in the 2014-15 draft annual plan.

Under the heading "Operational Studies and Plans" the council lists more than a dozen items to receive funding for the next financial year, including $45,000 for a traffic study in Unanderra, and $30,000 for another in Corrimal.

A Keiraville-Gwynneville access and movement study was listed alongside them at $0, with the notation: "identified in the draft Keiraville/Gwynneville Community Plan to be developed by NF [neighbourhood forum] at no cost to council".

On Monday a spokesman confirmed at no point did Wollongong City Council expect Neighbourhood Forum 5 to undertake the traffic study.

"Council would welcome their assistance in collection data on access and movement in the precinct, however understands a formal access and movement study would need to be undertaken with the assistance of council, the university and the RMS," a spokesman said.

Funding was not allocated to the study because the precinct plan needed more work, he said.

Furthermore, council considered 50 projects - including flooding, traffic, heritage, environment, recreation, planning - for the allocation of funds, of which only 16 were approved in the 2014-15 draft annual plan.

"Not all proposed plans can be funded in a given year and council must decide priorities," a spokesman said. "Council has supported the development of an implementation plan for this area in the next annual plan. That document may determine that a traffic study is a priority, or there might be a higher priority.

"An access and movement study will be considered by council again in future annual planning cycles."

Head of the Keiraville and Gwynneville Community Group (KeG) Felix Bronneberg said council would have had "a hide" to expect residents to conduct the crucial study when they had already volunteered their time to develop a precinct plan for the area.

"Council has a hide if it expects us to undertake a professional traffic study at no cost, given that those studies done elsewhere have been [funded] by council," Mr Bronneberg said.

"They've already saved considerable money with the community doing the precinct planning exercise, and they've indicated that they're raising considerable revenue through the issuing of parking fines, so it would be reasonable to expect that they fund the traffic study."

He said the community would be willing to work on a study with professionals, but it was "a bit overwhelming" to expect them to solve traffic problems on arterial roads in the area.

In March, Keiraville and Gwynneville residents submitted to council a wish-list of improvements to their suburbs, under council's new community-led approach to suburban planning.

Hundreds of residents took part in workshops and surveys, which identified traffic and parking congestion as their No 1 gripe.

Mr Bronneberg urged council to reconsider its decision to not allocate funds for a study in the next financial year.


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