AT least one Orange councillor still has reservations over Dan Murphy’s opening before the rest of the Summer Centre ahead of tonight’s council meeting where councillors will decide the fate of the liquor outlet.
Councillors had a last-minute site inspection yesterday afternoon to see for themselves if safety and traffic concerns had been eased since the modification of the development last went before the council in December.
It is expected tonight’s decision will split the council, forcing mayor John Davis to break the stalemate and give the store the green light.
But yesterday’s site meeting may see some councillors change their minds.
Cr Scott Munro said he would stick to his guns and vote against the store opening until a risk assessment for the site was completed.
“It’s important to cover all bases and not just take someone’s word as gospel. They have to have a safety plan in place,” he said.
“Not only do we try and protect the public purse as far as insurance issues, but primarily it’s about the people of Orange.”
Cr Munro said he was concerned a car could accelerate through the “flimsy” safety fence and injure a construction worker.
“Or the opposite could happen and a backhoe could go through the fence and hurt someone,” he said.
“Councillors have to vote on how it stands, but with no risk assessment done we could be held liable if something did happen.”
Cr Russell Turner was absent from the December vote.
He said he would vote to okay Dan Murphy’s opening as he was confident the safety isssues had been fixed.
“I’ll be quite amazed and disappointed if we’ve gone to the trouble and the contractors haven’t met the conditions,” he said.
“When I was a member of parliament they were upgrading Pitt Street Mall and they had a safety fence with jack hammers going and 60,000 people a day walking past.
“It’s not unusual for developments like this to have interim occupation certificates provided.”
Deputy mayor Jeff Whitton has declared an interest in the development and will not vote at tonight’s meeting because his son works for Dan Murphy’s parent company Woolworths.
He said the council would not be held responsible if an accident occured at the site, but could risk costly legal action from Dan Murphy’s if the opening was knocked back.
“I understand why the councillors are against it because that area is still a construction zone, but at the same time they have to base it on its merit as with all development applications,” he said.
“That merit is that the staff have approved it. Safety on the site is more of a WorkCover issue not council’s domain.”