Ash St./Oasis Close – Walkway To Nowhere?

Obstruction of Pedestrian Access Between Ash Street and Soldiers Point Bowling Club

 

The Ash Oasis Close Pic 800x600St/Oasis Close dispute started half way through 2013 when the resident in number 3 of the new subdivision of Oasis Close (off Ash Street, opposite Myrtle Close, Soldiers Point, see links to combined maps below) fenced off a footway, citing public liability issues. This easement had for many years given local residents pedestrian access to the Soldiers Point Bowling Club, the beach and the Salamander Hotel.

The reaction to the closure of their shortcut from locals was vociferous, 460 residents signed a petition, 170 signed up to a facebook page and when the matter was dealt with in Council, more than 30 residents waving protest placards attended the meeting, saying that elderly residents faced an extra 25 minute walk to get to the club.

Council, in its wisdom, possibly to avoid legal action, tried to placate the natives and compromise with the land owners instead of forcing compliance, which it was entitled to do under section 125 of the Local Government Act 1993 which is about abating (“Summary Removal, without having recourse to legal proceedings”) of a ‘public nuisance’ and states in part:

For example, any wrongful or negligent act or omission in a public road that interferes with the full, safe and convenient use by the public of their right of passage is a public nuisance.” 

Instead the Council resolved that it would consent to the release/extinguishment of the easement over 3 Oasis Close, Subject to certain conditions.  I won’t list them all here, but the object was to get the Resident and the Bowling Club, who also had a DA under consideration for 100 seniors units adjacent to the track, to agree to construct a new elevated walkway through a stormwater drainage reserve at No 7 Oasis close and share the cost 50/50. All well and good, so far.

This was dealt with by Council at Meetings on 26 November 2013, 25 February, 15 April, and 10 June 2014 (I have aggregated the Council minutes and the Local Govt. Act on a link below for those who want the detail) 

Unfortunately the cost estimate must have been hastily worked out on the back of a cigarette packet with a blunt pencil, because the original figure of $54,000.00, i.e. $27,000.00 each has now blown out to $134,000.00, the owners have propped at $34,000.00 each and guess who is picking up the shortfall of $66,000.00? Council is proposing to take that out of our community’s section 94 funds.  To add insult to injury it has also moved it to the top of the works funding list, displacing other long standing commitments.

However it gets worse still, TRRA inc. understands that there are still no final design drawings or specifications completed for this project yet, and it is still subject to a tender process. One of the reasons for the blowout so far is that Council did not follow its own guidelines on disabled access in the original estimate, and had to increase the width from 1.2 m to 1.4 m. Now some people are talking about lighting etc. the final cost of this could double again.

TRRA is fed up with Councils consistent failure to insist on compliance issues which should be resolved quickly, but end up escalating into an ever increasing cost and disruption to the community.  What better example in this area than the Soldiers Point Marina where Council has turned a blind eye to compliance issues for decades, and only an extensive, concerted campaign by local residents finally exposed it at the JRPP? All Council has to do is enforce its own rules.

Resident’s access could have been restored immediately by removal of the offending fence and all this sorted out in due course, they still have no access almost 12 months later and nothing is finally resolved. If this proposal ends up being too expensive, will the Council end up having to do what it should have done in the first place or will everyone loose?

The last word in this saga goes to our TRRA Secretary, who has been active in this community for many years, and has discovered another anomaly in this process, all this expense and disruption may end up in a road to nowhere, read about it here: 140704 Oasis Walkway article for Website MW  and see what you can do about it.  Submissions close 16 July 2014!

Projects on Section 94 Development Contributions (including the proposed addition of Ash Street/Oasis Circuit Walkway $148,740) HERE

Newcastle Herald 27 November 2013: Access Fight Turns Corner

Examiner 03 December 2013: New Soldiers Point Walkway Mooted

Examiner 30 October 2014: Work On Oasis Walkway Under Way

 

Map Of Oasis Cl

Oasis Close Combined Maps

Nov 2013 – June 2014 PS Council Minutes Ash St – Oasis Cl Walkway

 

 

 

 

 

Seniors Living SPSeniors Living Development Behind Soldiers point Bowling Club 

This entry was posted in 2013, 2014, Council Compliance, Council Decisions, Council Meetings, Council Responses, Council Submissions, HOT ISSUES, PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT, Planning Issues, Planning Submissions, PORT STEPHENS COUNCIL, What The Papers Said! and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ash St./Oasis Close – Walkway To Nowhere?

  1. Jean says:

    Oasis Close Soldiers Point Walkway Section 94 Plan item 3 (c)

    The current public exhibition of the Tomaree Peninsula Section 94 Plan includes the walkway at Oasis Close as the highest priority.

    Why is this so? What is the urgency?

    The Soldiers Point Community Hall has been listed as a No. 1 priority for a number of years and requires a nominal amount of $41,500 in order to complete the refurbishment which will benefit very many residents and ratepayers of Soldiers Point and other organisations who were accustomed to using the Hall prior to the discovery of asbestos which has since been removed.

    Residents and ratepayers are asking why this valuable community asset which previously generated an income is not receiving due attention and are concerned that this situation could go on indefinitely. Does Council have other plans for the Community Hall which presently Council is maintaining at ratepayers expense but which we are unable to us?

    The Oasis Close walkway was estimated to cost $54,000 but has since escalated to $148,000 with no indication that that will be the final cost.

    This is out of all proportion compared to the cost of fixing the Soldiers Point Hall which would benefit a whole community, when likened to the limited benefit to persons disadvantaged over the closure of the original walkway toward the Bowling Club Grounds.

    The use of the Section 94 Development Contribution Funds toward a project which has so many legal issues and design constraints is not considered to be a good investment of ratepayer’s money and priority should be given to projects deserving more immediate action.

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