TWO councillors serving their first term inside the chamber look set to decide the future of Bathurst’s worst intersection.
More than 5000 local people have signed petitions calling for a roundabout to be installed at the West Bathurst intersection of Mitre, Suttor and Lambert streets and the two people who have led the two-year campaign – Kent and Diane McNab – are now more hopeful than ever that victory is just around the corner.
Senior council staff also seem convinced the roundabout will go ahead and have done extensive planning at the site, but there is still the formality of a vote at Wednesday night’s council meeting to be negotiated.
If all nine councillors are in attendance, it will take five votes to make the roundabout a reality.
Roundabout advocates are confident of the support of deputy mayor Bobby Bourke along with councillors Ian North, Alex Christian and Jess Jennings, while mayor Graeme Hanger and councillors Warren Aubin and Monica Morse have previously indicated they do not support a roundabout as the best solution.
That leaves relative newcomers Jacqui Rudge and John Fry with the crucial votes. Roundabout supporters need just one of their votes - but, by rights, they should be confident of getting both.
Cr Fry is another who indicated in recent months that he is open to other suggested solutions for the intersection, but he went to last September’s council election with a roundabout as one of his key policy platforms.
If he was to change his mind now he would be reminded of that backflip at every council meeting between now and the next election in 2020.
Similarly, Cr Rudge was a roundabout supporter when she was contesting the election last year.
She was elected to council as the number 2 on Cr Bourke’s ticket and while that does not require her to always vote in line with the deputy mayor, she does need to honour that campaign pledge.
But even better than a 6-3 victory for roundabout supporters on Wednesday night would be a unanimous vote that recognised the findings of four separate engineers’ reports that all recommended a roundabout as the preferred option.
Surely the debate on this issue has been run and won. Now is the time for council to show some much-needed unity.