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Audience frustrated at Andrew Fairley Ave meeting

Shepparton residents who attended a meeting on the traffic impact of the potential closure of Andrew Fairley Ave were left frustrated by a number of questions going unanswered.

DARREN LINTON May 15, 2014 3:53am

Lockwood Rd business owner Trevor Cotterill at last night's Andrew Fairley Ave traffic report meeting at Shepparton's Eastbank Centre.


An information meeting on the traffic changes needed if Andrew Fairley Ave is closed turned into a de facto freedom of information session that left the audience frustrated by the lack of answers.

After a short presentation by the company that prepared the stage two traffic study, Greater Shepparton City Council infrastructure director Steve Bowmaker took to the Eastbank Centre podium to add the organisation’s interpretation.

This included the need for additional works over and above the priority recommendations in the report.

He then moved to answering more than 50 questions members of the public had provided in writing ahead of the information session.

 

Soon there were groans and jeers from the audience as it became clear not all questions would be answered immediately.

‘‘That question refers to a topic that is not part of the traffic study,’’ Mr Bowmaker repeated to questions about compensation for businesses, liability and what fruit processor SPC Ardmona should pay for the land if the road was closed.

Mr Bowmaker said questions off topic would be answered directly in writing.

A question about businesses in the area getting a rate reduction was met with applause, but when it too was not answered there were boos and a call of, ‘‘How convenient.’’

When it came up a second time Mr Bowmaker did address one off-topic question about the sale price.

‘‘No discussions have happened with SPC about cost,’’ he said.

The audience was not satisfied with the news that while the road closure would be immediate, the traffic works to alleviate the impact of an additional 8000 traffic movements a day would take up to two years.

There were jeers as well when Mr Bowmaker defended the modelling based on traffic counts done the day after Easter and in a short working week leading up to Anzac Day.

 

During the session a private letter was projected that had been answered the day before and the mood for many was set by an independent facilitator who mispronounced ‘‘Fairley’’ in his opening and was loudly corrected by a chorus of bemused audience members.

Council chief executive Gavin Cator said the aim was to have as many questions as possible answered by the time the council voted on the issue next month.

‘‘Council will consider submissions as required and we are trying to extend information to everyone,’’ he said.

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