The council will push ahead with a strategic business case for all Port Macquarie orbital road options after a rescission motion was lost.
The rescission motion, lodged by mayor Peta Pinson, Cr Sharon Griffiths and Cr Lee Dixon, was debated at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's meeting on Wednesday, July 17.
Cr Pinson, Cr Griffiths and Cr Dixon were the only supporters of the rescission motion which had sought to reverse the council's June decision on the proposed orbital road project.
If the rescission motion had been successful, a motion would have been put forward in a bid to continue with a strategic business case but take the east-west link off the table, along with any realignment of Fernhill Road to a new intersection on the Oxley Highway as part of any future airport access road.
Instead, the council will continue on its path of developing a strategic business case for all orbital road options.
Consultant Tony Thorne spoke in support of the rescission motion as did Phil Lloyd from the Port Macquarie Better Orbital Options Alliance.
Mr Lloyd, on behalf of residents, asked for the current contested routes to be permanently abandoned as part of the orbital road strategic business case.
He said there were two chief deal breakers stopping the progress of the project - the lack of any state or federal funding and environmental concerns.
The meeting heard the council decision in June had consigned residents to two more years of uncertainty, stress and anguish.
Mr Lloyd said the only option without the rescission was for the alliance to petition the state government to thoroughly investigate this whole process.
The council says the strategic business case will take up to 24 months.
Cr Pinson, speaking for the rescission motion, said she could not support something which was to the detriment of our community.
"We are building a community, and by building a community, we should not be impacting on those community members," she said.
The mayor thanked Cr Dixon and Cr Griffiths for their courage to support a rescission motion which was an alternative, a better way, a different way.
Cr Pinson referenced correspondence from Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams and Cowper MP Pat Conaghan confirming their opposition to the "most viable route".
Cr Dixon, speaking in support of the rescission motion, said he believed the council had been given an opportunity to listen, learn and deliver a fully collaborative solution.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann stood behind the council's June decision.
"In my opinion, the original adopted resolution still remains the best option for council to go forward," she said.
Cr Intemann told the meeting she could not consider an alternate which did not consider all the options.
Cr Mike Cusato said the traffic congestion on the Oxley Highway needed to be fixed.
Cr Cusato didn't support excluding any orbital road options for investigation.
But Cr Griffiths said: "I think we just need to be looking at residents' certainty and taking it ["most viable route"] off the table."
The strategic business case will mean further analysis to help provide a better understanding of the costs and benefits associated with options to address the traffic problem.
A review of planned traffic network improvements and upgrades to the existing road network, including Lake Road and Ocean Drive, will form part of the strategic business case.
The council, in June, also decided to separate the airport access road from orbital road project investigations and to progress planning for a flood-free primary airport access road as a stand-alone priority.
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