Council needs to monitor development compliance

Letter to the editor of Cessnock Advertiser 22 October 2014

Dear Editor,

Regarding the recent music festival at 60 Mitchells Road, Mount View, on September 10 at an extraordinary meeting, the council approved a traffic management plan for the event.

This plan had not been submitted to council in the time frame specified in the DA approval, hence the need for an extraordinary meeting.

The proponents' traffic management plan, from the outset, was subject to many basic premises but I will highlight only two of them, namely:
-    All traffic would be directed to use a route via Cessnock/Millfield/Mount View Road to drive to the event and
-    Qualified traffic controllers, two-way radios and appropriate signage would control all event traffic.

The first premise mentioned was to permit the limited use of a water truck to reduce dust levels from event traffic on the Millfield to Mount View Road.

However, this premise was immaterial as the vast majority of traffic approached the event address from other routes (presumably nobody told the GPS navigation systems everyone uses nowadays of this requirement) and the event organisers did not alternate the use of the water truck on other approach roads.

The veracity of the second premise is also very doubtful based on my own experience mid-morning of September 20.

As I drove slowly towards the intersection between Mount View Road and Mitchells Road from the southwest I noted what I assumed to be traffic controllers, but there was no evidence of two-way radios and no hand held signage was in use.

As I closed on the actual junction of the two roads, a water truck emerged from Mitchells Road at speed being waved out by hand signals from the traffic controllers. Had it not been for the fact that I was driving slowly and cautiously (which the water truck was not)  there could easily have been an accident.

These are only two instances of Cessnock City Council DA conditions being ignored. But apparently the council does not care, as the following statement made by the director of planning at the meeting on September 10 clearly demonstrates: "Council doesn't traditionally have staff working on weekends in development compliance".

We can only hope that Cessnock City Council continues to look after its own residents (who are also rate payers and voters) in the Mount View and all other council areas with far greater care and attention than was shown on this occasion; or alternately does not approve any DA where it cannot monitor compliance of the approval conditions i.e. no weekend events.

Frank Renton
Mount View Road,
Mount View.

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