Horsham Rural City Council rules out investigating other bypass options

HORSHAM Rural City Council has backflipped on its stance on the city's bypass, opting to back a position from 2013. 

After another heated debate on Monday night, council decided to advise the planning and roads ministers that council would continue to support the bypass, but did not endorse or discount any route options.

Council will not investigate any other options, which was its position in February 2013.

If the planning minister chose option D, council will lobby for an interchange at the Henty Highway; a full diamond interchange at the northern end of the route; flood mitigation design standards; and the safety and future development of the Horsham Aerodrome.

Mayor Pam Clarke said the bypass debate needed to stop. 

“Right back at the start of the process, council decided not to be the planning authority,” she said.

“There is no way that looking at other bypass options is going to work.

“This is a decision that has never been and never will be council’s decision.”

Cr Clarke said the ongoing debate about the bypass was causing angst and heartache in the community.

“There is garbage going on and personal attacks – this has been a horrible place to be and it needs to stop,” she said. “This motion puts the handbrake on the issue.

“The bypass has divided the community for the past 10 years, it’s time to stop the debate.”

However, Cr David Grimble, who voted against the motion, has indicated he would push to rescind the decision at the next council meeting. 

He said he was mystified and horrified at the decision.

He said going back to council’s 2013 position was ignoring all the submissions and reports that had happened since then.

He said move was telling VicRoads that council would support whatever decision the authority made.

“I’m horrified that this council, after having an enormous amount of correspondence, wants to go back to a position of almost five years ago,” he said.

“If we go down this line, we will be ridiculed.

“It’s shameful that council is turning its back on a process that was independent and fair. This is not in the best interest of council and we will be shamed.”

Cr John Robinson also voted against the move.

“We haven’t consulted with any groups that will be impacted by this decision,” he said. 

“We have never looked at what’s good for this community, we’ve only looked at what’s good for VicRoads.

“Are we going to draw a line on the map now that our children are going to have to re-draw in 20 or 30 years time?”

Cr Mark Radford said it had been a long process to achieve a line on a map.

“It’s important we don’t lose sight of who the players are and their roles,” he said.

“The bypass is a planning issue and VicRoads is the planning authority – we are submitters.”

Cr Josh Koenig said there was more than one view in the community.

 “When do we stop playing devil's advocate and decide to work together?” he said.