RTA go-slow a headache
By LEE McDOUGALL
MICHAEL Lamont knows a moratorium when he sees one, and he's pretty sure there's still a moratorium happening on development on the Northern Beaches.
Mr Lamont is the chairman of the North Coast Chapter of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) ? the peak representative body for all segments of the urban development industry.
"It's an unofficial moratorium, and I know that's a strong word, but in reality the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) don't want to give approval to any development on the Northern Beaches that is going to require access on to the highway," Mr Lamont said.
"While the RTA deliberates on what they are going to do with the Pacific Highway, there will be no development allowed to occur.
'The sewer moratorium was lifted on the Northern Beaches after many years, but now development is being stymied by the RTA."
Mr Lamont said the RTA needed to come to the realisation that some form of interim measure needed to be explored to enable development to proceed.
Currently the Department of Planning is considering five proposed developments on the Northern Beaches between Sapphire and Sandy Beach.
Coffs Harbour City Council general manager, Mr Stephen Sawtell, said the council was very aware of the difficulties associated with the placement of the Pacific Highway on the Northern Beaches, and was working closely with the RTA to find suitable solutions.
"The RTA have committed with the council to form a joint committee to deal with any development application for the Northern Beaches," Mr Sawtell said.
"We have looked at the capacity of the current intersections, the need for interim intersection upgrades and the increased capacity and the possibility of future requirements.
"These are difficult issues but there is a commitment from the council to negotiate positive outcomes."
Cr Jenny Bonfield, who raised the issue at a recent council meeting, said there was a growing level of frustration among developers, builders and business operators keen to see the Northern Beaches developed.
"You have an issue such as the Moonee Beach Shopping Centre where businesses are going bankrupt because there isn't enough passing traffic," Cr Bonfield said.
"There are people who want to move forward on the Northern Beaches but can't because they are being held up by the RTA."