Horsham Rural City Council has given qualified support to truck bypass ‘option D’

HORSHAM Rural City Council has given qualified support to the truck bypass ‘option D’ following a lengthy and well-attended meeting on Monday night.

About 60 people packed the public gallery to hear debate over a number of complex motions to enable the council to move forward with the debate.

Horsham mayor Heather Phillips said she was usually able to name every public gallery member who attended council meetings. 

The key motions were carried unanimously just hours before the pre-election caretaker period was triggered at midnight, leaving the next council to deal with later stages of the draft Horsham Integrated Strategy.

Mayor Phillips said it was unfortunate that Horsham Integrated Transport Plan, which looked at all forms of transport, was hijacked into a bypass issue.

“The aim was to improve the lifestyle in places like Haven and along our urban roads,” she said.

The two main motions to endorse the recommendations from July’s draft report, written by council staff came after debate on two motions brought by individual councillors.

Cr David Grimble attempted to address criticism of the transport plan by moving a motion to reject the C72 planning scheme amendment. 

Cr Grimble said the planning scheme amendment would harm safety and viability of the Horsham aerodrome.

He said there were issues with potential animal strikes on aeroplanes, floodplain issues and cost.

Cr Grimble called for a decision based on the merits of proposals around a truck bypass for Horsham and not public opinion.  

“This is a high-risk, high-value project,” he said.

“Economic benefit depends on an increase in traffic.”

Cr Grimble says the proposed bypass options did not include enough length to cover floodplains and would involve 300 new culverts.

He said the lack of planning had been unacceptable.

Despite a number of other councillors agreeing with points Cr Grimble brought up, he only received votes from Crs Phillips and Robin Barber.

Cr Mark Radford was successful with a motion to reject bypass ‘option 5A’.

Cr Radford said the option would affect Aboriginal heritage sites, split Haven from Horsham, create noise and pollution and would not address the key goal of improving freight efficiency.

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