The people of Eden would be millionaires by now if they had a dollar every time a politician mentioned the great future Eden has ahead of it.
They could well be billionaires if they had a tenner every time it was used in an election pledge.
In spite of being a priority on just about everyone’s list of things to do, it still hasn’t made it onto the state’s 20 year infrastructure strategy released by Nick Greiner last week in Sydney.
In fact, the south coast rates hardly a mention in the 200-plus page report released on October 3.
Member for Bega Andrew Constance says south coast residents shouldn’t despair.
“We’ve got a lot of work that is going on in relation to the Eden Port.
“We’re working through issues to better utilise Snug Cove and the multipurpose wharf to make better use of what exists. Not every infrastructure project is going to be in that report,” Minister Constance said yesterday.
Infrastructure NSW was tasked by the government with preparing the 20 year strategy in July 2011. The strategy assesses the current state of infrastructure and identifies strategic priorities.
The strategy offers independent advice to the NSW Government on specific infrastructure investments and reforms necessary to make NSW number one again.
“We’re yet to respond formally to the report as a government,” Mr Constance went on to say.
“I’ll get an opportunity to respond to that and I’ll advocate very strongly for the Port of Eden and continue to make my views very, very clear to (Deputy Premier) Andrew Stoner and (Ports Minister) Duncan Gay.
“We’ve got the multipurpose wharf infrastructure there (and Snug Cove), so it’s a question of how to better utilise it,” Mr Constance reiterated.
“One of the great challenges locally is how we can get better integration of the Port of Eden into other ports around the state such as Port Kembla.”
Just-elected Bega Valley Shire Council Mayor Bill Taylor is still catching up on what’s happened from a council perspective on the Port over the last four years but insists the Port is still a priority.
“The Port of Eden is certainly on the agenda,” Mr Taylor said on Wednesday.
“There was a very general discussion about it, purely in terms of providing information to the new councillors, at council yesterday and there was disappointment expressed that it wasn’t in the (Infrastructure NSW) strategy.
“It’s obviously one of the major issues for this council over the next four years, to keep advocating for the development of the port of Eden and more broadly for the Eden area.
“Eden is one part of the shire going through significant change and that change is continuing and we as a council need to ensure the economic and social viability of Eden is enhanced,” Mr Taylor said.
Council general manager Peter Tegart was also disappointed not to see any mention of the Port of Eden development in the 20 year strategy document.
“It’s probably not unexpected, but it is disappointing,” he said yesterday afternoon.
“The scale of the Eden Port development may fall outside the threshold of the state infrastructure strategy,” he said.
“Notwithstanding that we have already prepared the body of work required for funding for the breakwater wharf extension at the Infrastructure Australia level. That funding relies on a decision to jointly fund the project from both the state and federal governments. The economic feasibility study and the business case for the wharf have already been provided to InfrastructureAustralia and InfrastructureNSW.
“From a council point of view, we’ll still be progressing and advocating funds to the breakwater wharf extension.
“Independently of that we’ll soon be finishing commissioning of consultants to prepare a Snug Cove precinct business plan. That focuses on the BP, Mobil and Snug Cove precinct sites to determine what is the best use of resource investment at those sites. We hope to have that by the end of the calendar year. It may run over in to the New Year,” Mr Tegart said.