Orange City Council gets $2.1 million from state government to pay for an upgrade to Forest Road

SURVEYING THE SCENE: Orange councillor Glenn Taylor, mayor John Davis and Member for Orange Phil Donato examine Forest Road before a $3.1 million upgrade. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0110jkroad3

SURVEYING THE SCENE: Orange councillor Glenn Taylor, mayor John Davis and Member for Orange Phil Donato examine Forest Road before a $3.1 million upgrade. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0110jkroad3

Orange City Council’s patience has paid off, with the state government handing over $2.1 million to upgrade Forest Road.

However councillors are asking for ratepayers to have a little more patience, as work won’t begin until November this year.

It’s not just filling in potholes, hot-mix asphalt will cover 1400 metres to the entrance of the hospital, plus streetlights, kerb and guttering and 120 sealed car parks at Sir Jack Brabham Park.

Council will tip in an extra $1 million to complete the project. Mayor John Davis and infrastructure committee chairman Glenn Taylor announced the funding on Tuesday.

The funding is from the resources for regions program, for communities with mining activity. Councillor Davis said Forest Road had been an ongoing issue and council had been applying for grants to fund an upgrade.

“It had been planned to be upgraded because of the hospital and retirement village as well with the upcoming private hospital,” Cr Davis said.

The $1 million dollars provided by council includes contributions from the Gosling Creek retirement village and the planned private hospital.

“The road will be similar quality to the Southern Feeder Road intersection with Forest Road,” Cr Davis said.

“It was a country road but it was silly to upgrade it when there’s two major construction projects including the hospital.”

Cr Taylor said the infrastructure committee had resisted calls from some councillors and the public to simply just get the job done, but the state government funding means council only has kick to in part of the cost.

“A lot of people called for us to just pay the [full] cost of $3.1 million. It makes [Forest Road] part of the city, this is the old main straight for the Gnoo Blas circuit, it was never meant for the traffic it’s getting now,” he said.

Cr Taylor said work would not begin until November for the 2017-2018 road building season. He said the sealed car parks would make a difference for more than weekend sport.

“I would like to think there will be less pressure on the hospital car park, some staff can park here and walk to the hospital,” he said.

Member for Orange Phil Donato said the condition of Forest Road was one of the talking points of the byelection.

“It’s good to see funding announcements for the community, and that the people of Orange haven’t been punished for the result of the byelection or forgotten about since then,” Mr Donato said. “I’m still waiting to hear about the promise of the hospital parking. I’m writing to every state government minister to find a timetable to see all these promises made in the byelection, nearly $300 million, get delivered.”