Southern Highlands bus for students a possibility?

Travis Holland is a Wollongong university student and a Southern Highlands resident who is trying to make life easier for himself, and many other students.

Travis has put  into motion a campaign for another bus service to run between the Southern Highlands and the university. An extra bus service could mean hundreds less cars traveling between the two points and free-up parking at the university.

Travis joined Crossfire this afternoon to explain his concerns and possible solutions to the problem.

Budget response

After the budget was announced it seemed that the Illawarra had been short changed but the University was successful yet again. Locals were left wondering why high profile public concerns such as the Picton Rd, Princes Hwy and Maldon-Dombarton rail link were largely ignored. Federal member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird, spent this week in defending the decisions. Here’s what she had to say about some of the decisions in the Illawarra.

Judy Raper, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Wollongong, spoke on why the University is so successful in attracting funds over other projects. She said the application process has been largely misrepresented, and that not enough has been done to make the community aware of the monumental work planned for the centre and the benefits it can bring to the region.

There were budget decisions other then infrastructure plans that will affect the Illawarra community. Federal member for Gilmore, Jo Gash, is concerned not only about the lack of infrastructure funding, but also some of the announcements that were generally received well. Listen in to what she had to say on the promise of broadband and how much of her electorate will miss out.

Ms Gash also spoke of concerns voiced by older residents who are worried they will be worse off with the pension increase.

Jo Gash is primarily concerned about the lack of funding for the Princes Hwy. She lays the blame on our state MP’s saying that she was of the impression that Matt Brown, the State Member for Kiama, would apply for federal funding to upgrade the Berri by-pass. This past week, it has become apparent that an application was not even drafted.

There has been a lot of anger directed at the state government about a shortfall of funding in NSW.

David Campbell, the Minister for the Illawarra and Transport,  spoke to Crossfire about the criticism.

For more information on the budget visit the federal governments 2009-10 Commonwealth budget website.

Kevin Rudd comes to town

It was on short notice and the excitement was short lived but Kevin Rudd made one long term difference in the Illawarra on his visit to Wollongong on Monday. The Prime Minister stopped in at Port Kembla to announce that BlueScope Steel had won a $20 million contract to produce steel for three new navy destroyers. Rudd then moved on to the Town Hall where he guided 200 selected leaders, politicians and volunteers through a jobs forum.

Member for Wollongong Noreen Hay attended the meeting. On Tuesday, budget day, Hay quickly answered a few Crossfire questions before heading off to question time.

Conflict over parking meters in Wollongong’s CBD

Next Tuesday night (21st April) a public meeting will be held to discuss the Councils plans to introduce parking meters in the Wollongong CBD area. The project is part of the Inner City Parking Strategy. The council says the 850 meters will improve efficiency or parking and lessen traffic congestion. The profit will supposedly go to funding more parking and public transport.

The City Diggers club General Manager Phil Ryan says the meters will affect businesses in the area and will put staff at risk when having to walk long distances to their cars.

Mr Ryan took the time to speak to Crossfire about his concerns with the councils parking meter strategy.

Meeting Details: 6pm Tuesday 21 April at the City Diggers club Wollongong

Feedback for the council

The Council has today extended the time frame for submissions on the draft Local Environment Plan, or LEP.

This draft has been on exhibition since the 24th of November last year; regulations require drafts to be open for public submission for a minimum of 28 days.

The LEP guides land use and development. It addresses land zonings and determines what land can be used for. It also controls the scale and density of development and lists heritage items.

This LEP excludes the West Dapto release area and the Dapto Town centre which have their own separate draft LEP.

The LEP draft can be found online at the council website or you can contact the council.

The council is also asking for feedback on the Plan of Management (PoM) for the Stanwell Park Beach Reserve and Bald Hill area.

Possibilities of extensions and refurbishments are proposed in the Plan of Management draft for the Stanwell Park Kiosk and the Surf Life Saving Club.

This draft will be on display until the 29th of May and open for feedback. There will also be a public hearing to discuss the draft Plan of Management at Stanwell Park Surf Lifesaving Club on the 14th and 16th of May.

All details can be found on the council website.

Road closure in Balgownie

Residents and visitors of Balgownie will have to detour around the intersection of Dawsons and Dymocks St while new drainage is installed by Council. From Monday the 9th of March this road section will be closed between 6.30am and 4pm. For the next twelve weeks traffic will be interrupted. Work is expected to continue over 12 weeks both full time and intermediately.

Picton Rd receives funding one day too late

Picton Road has claimed a fourteenth life just a day before the State Government’s $12 million dollar safety upgrade. The 54 year old man from Raby in south western Sydney was riding a motorcycle when he was struck by a people mover. The notorious stretch of road has caused 152 crashes and killed nine people since 2004. The latest fatality came only six days after the state funding was announced. The projects which will be taken as part of the funding will begin early this year.