Councillors head for Pioneer Park re-vote

A COFFS Harbour councillor who has relocated to Gosford will again be absent for a vote on building a permanent road through Pioneer Park.

Councillors will consider a rescission motion at tomorrow's meeting that would defer the Duke St extension until a CBD traffic plan has been developed.

The motion was put forward by Cr Sally Townley who has questioned the project's documentation including an environmental impact report.

"The purpose of the review was to assess impacts from the road on the koala population but at this stage there is no details of the size or distribution of that population," she said.

"I would like to think that councillors take their responsibility towards koala protection seriously and I don't think that was adequately considered in the assessment."

The original motion was passed at February 11's meeting with Mayor Denise Knight's casting vote carrying the tied vote in Cr Rodney Degens' absence.

Cr Degens will again be absent for the vote due to his relocation to Gosford where he is working as a teacher.

He told The Advocate he could now only attend "one in every three meetings" to satisfy attendance legislation.

He added that his intention was to avoid a by-election that would occur if he stood down from his position prior to the next local government election, expected to be held in September.

Had he participated in tomorrow's meeting, Cr Degens said he would have voted against the motion, describing the road as "necessary".

"The area was gazetted as a road and there's no other possibility than opening up that Duke St area," he said.

If the rescission motion passes, funds allocated to the project will be channelled into night works to fast-track the Harbour Dr roundabout.

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