Patience tested at EDE forum in Queanbeyan

About 350 residents attended the EDE community forum this week. Photo: Kim Pham.
About 350 residents attended the EDE community forum this week. Photo: Kim Pham.

IN A meeting that lasted almost five hours, close to half of the 115 questions asked at this week's Ellerton Drive Extension community forum centred on the cost and funding for the controversial road.

About 350 community members filled out the Bicentennial Centre on Tuesday night from 6.30pm seeking answers from experts on questions they had about the road. The forum was independently facilitated by Lucy Cole-Edelstein of Straight Talk.

"The point of tonight is to have your questions answered and provide feedback to the team," she said.

The panel included Queanbeyan City Council staff including group manager city infrastructure Phil Hansen, a representative from the Roads, Maritime and Services as well as scientists and engineers to speak on the topics of the environment, species impact statement, noise and traffic.

The bulk of the questions at the start of the night were directed to Mr Hansen as the community sought information on how the road, currently estimated to cost between $75 - $90 million, would be financed.

More importantly, residents wanted to know if they would have to bear the cost of the road.

Mr Hansen said financing the road would have no impact or costs via rates to the community.

The Federal and State Government have promised a total of $50 million to the project with the rest to be funded by developers.

Mr Hansen said the council may have to take out a bank loan for the project with the developers to pay back the loan plus interest as the blocks of land are released by council for development.

Other questions included: why was the EDE considered the best option to ease the town's traffic, further details on the methodology used to inform the reports that the road is based on and how much traffic and noise is the road expected to generate.

At times, the audience appeared frustrated and many left after two hours.

The format of the evening seemed to be the problem with experts invited to provide short presentations and relevant questions to the topic to be asked afterward.

However, attendees grew impatient as the night was drawn out and at 9.20pm called for all the presentations to be given as the question and answer session after each speaker slowed down the process. The night eventually wrapped up at 11.20pm.

A Queanbeyan City Council spokesperson said a copy of the 115 questions along with the answers will be published online within a fortnight.

An external consultant will finalise a submission report which feeds into a determination report.

When finalised, these reports will be presented to councillors for their determination.