Gladstone council scraps Baffle to Agnes link road project
AFTER more than five years of debate Gladstone Regional Council has withdrawn its support for the proposed Agnes Water to Baffle Creek link road.
Last year councillors voted against advice to scrap the project, instead opting to conduct community consultation on potential routes.
With consultation complete, the issue was brought back to councillors at yesterday's council meeting.
Councillors unanimously voted to scrap the project and shift focus to making the existing road more floodproof.
Five potential new roads, costing $65 million to $103 million, were presented during consultation.
More than 80 people attended sessions at Agnes Water and Baffle Creek, and 2464 views were registered online.
Based on survey responses, 31 per cent of people preferred no new road and 69 per cent supported an alternative link.
The most popular option, preferred by 27 per cent was the proposed road between Rocky Crossing and Maude Hill Rds.
Councillor Rick Hansen said he wanted to look at better servicing and maintaining the existing roads in the area.
Deputy Mayor Chris Trevor said none of the road options would have been built without state or federal funding and doubted the likeliness of these options being funded due to the small population.
He said the council could have unlocked an existing road through Deepwater National Park, but missed the opportunity.
"I think we embarked upon an exercise of trying to appease everybody and in fact what will happen is we will now appease nobody because the road will not be complete," he said.
"We blinked and missed the opportunity for Agnes Water and Baffle Creek."
Councillor Natalia Muszkat acknowledged some people would not like the decision to remove the project.
"I understand we need better access to services. Residents are concerned about safety and there's items around economic development," Cr Muszkat said.
"I just don't believe investment in this road is going to actually achieve any of the outcomes in these areas."
Councillor Kahn Goodluck suggested the work already prepared on the project could be handed to state or federal governments to look at funding in the future.
Mayor Matt Burnett moved to add two amendments to the recommendation which were to advise state and federal governments of the results of the survey, and for the general manager of strategic asset performance to prepare a report on upgrading the existing road network to improve flood immunity.
"You won't find a community anywhere in the country that has suffered as much as they have," Cr Burnett said.
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett acknowledged some residents may be disappointed with the outcome.
"We're also appreciative of the work the Gladstone Regional Council put into a detailed business case, analysis costings and consultation to help them reach their decision," Mr Bennett said.
Councillors voted unanimously for the amendment and recommendation.