In the fast lane
By YVONNE McLEAN
GOLD Coast City Council's commitment to go ahead with the completion of the Surfers Paradise traffic scheme as fast as possible, is expected to be endorsed at council's meeting on Monday.
Last week, a Mayoral minute tabled by Cr Ron Clarke stressing the importance of easing traffic congestion through the heart of the popular tourist strip, won council support, but the issue of whether a traffic plan should include resumptions for a light rail or an additional lane for buses was a hot and strong argument.
Cr Sue Robbins said any thought the Mayor may have of a plan which resumed land in case a light rail was introduced would be absolutely illegal according to the Local Government Act.
"Any land resumptions by council must be for a specific purpose and at this stage a light rail is far from being certain.
"I think there is a certain kneejerk reaction here after the recent meeting between the Mayor and council members and Surfers Paradise business leaders," Cr Robbins said.
"We should make it known to all concerned that the council has never turned its back on the needs of the town.
"We have allocated millions of dollars into landscaping, streetscaping, beachscaping, roads and other improvements.
"Council has long been committed to completing roadworks at the southern and northern ends of Surfers Paradise. But an additional lane for buses or the light rail project must depend on government funding," she said.
Cr Robbins also queried claims of gridlocked traffic through Surfers.
"I drive to work through the town because traffic follows much more quickly than it does along Bundall Road. That's where the traffic grinds to a halt."
Mayor Clarke said the council would pressure the State Government to attack the Bundall Road problems.
But according to Cr Daphne McDonald, pressuring the government for roadworks ought to be the responsibility of elected members.
"I have not heard any of our State Members taking up the is- sue of Bundall Road," she said.
Cr McDonald also called for details of Surfers Paradise roadworks - at what stage was the plan, and what was the cost.
Senior officer Greg Young, said he was waiting for council to make a definite decision on whether an additional bus lane or a light rail should be incorporated in the plan. He said works for a light rail would cost about $26 million.
Mr Young also made it plain that property resumptions could not be carried out for light rail unless the people mover was a certainty.
He said the traffic scheme to be undertaken by council to the south and north of the Surfers Paradise strip would not lessen the traffic flow but it would straighten the route.