Cham­ber sup­ports road bid

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS - KIERAN BANKS

THE Top End’s peak body for busi­nesses has backed plans to con­struct Bar­ne­son Blvd and in­ject nearly $40 mil­lion into the Dar­win econ­omy.

The con­tro­ver­sial project was a ma­jor dis­cus­sion point dur­ing the City of Dar­win coun­cil elec­tion cam­paign.

The Cham­ber of Com­merce NT CEO Greg Bick­nell said the project would de­liver a jobs boost to the city.

“The busi­ness and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties flow­ing from the $39.53 mil­lion project are wel­comed by the Cham­ber of Com­merce and its mem­bers,” he said.

“The de­vel­op­ment of an iconic en­try point to the Dar­win CBD along Bar­ne­son Blvd has been on the draw­ing boards for a long time, with the cur­rent road re­serve de­clared 21 years ago.

“This type of for­ward plan­ning has been the hall­mark of Dar­win’s de­vel­op­ment as a trop­i­cal city, with well laid-out in­fra­struc­ture pro­vid­ing the city with an ad­van­tage over other ju­ris­dic­tions.”

The cham­ber rep­re­sents 1200 Ter­ri­tory busi­nesses.

Mr Bick­nell said the new en­try route would cre­ate a shaded boule­vard.

“We wel­comed the level of con­sul­ta­tion un­der­taken over a three-month pe­riod ear­lier this year and look for­ward to the com­mence­ment of works as soon as fea­si­ble,” he said.

The back­ing comes a day af­ter the Stop Bar­ne­son Boule­vard at Frog Hol­low group staged a protest against the de­vel­op­ment in the Dar­win CBD.

About 80 peo­ple protested the planned road, say­ing it would de­stroy the amenity of the park and the his­tory of the old Dar­win pri­mary school site. Stop Bar­ne­son Blvd cochair Heather Fer­gu­son said she op­posed the en­tire road.

“What we should be in­vest­ing in the fu­ture is ways of mov­ing peo­ple into the city, not cars,” she said. “It cer­tainly shouldn’t go through Frog Hol­low, it’s a sac­ri­lege.”

Ac­cord­ing to the De­part­ment of In­fra­struc­ture Plan­ning and Lo­gis­tics, the project will pro­vide mo­torists with a new en­try point into the city.

Once con­structed, Bar­ne­son Blvd would com­plete the du­pli­ca­tion of Tiger Bren­nan Dr from Di­nah Beach Rd to McMinn St. The de­part­ment be­lieves the land­mark project will help un­lock the po­ten­tial of the city’s eastern end.

The project will go to ten­der in November and is ex­pected to be done by the end of 2019.

OPIN­ION COL­UMN P12

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