THE mayor has used his casting vote to ensure that Taco Bell will be able to have two exit points from the site once it is constructed and operational.
Bathurst Regional Council dealt with a rescission motion on Wednesday night, seeing the councillors rescind the decision they made in August to not delete a condition of consent for the development.
The condition the developers of Taco Bell sought to delete, permitting egress from the site via Stewart Street only, was added to council staff's recommendations at the last minute before the approval of the development application (DA).
Councillors have faced a tough decision with this DA, as the developers have been firm in their assertion that, without a second exit onto Howick Street, the project would not be viable and they would be prepared to walk away from Bathurst.
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Mayor Bobby Bourke and councillors Alex Christian and Monica Morse lodged the rescission motion the morning after the August meeting, feeling the vote on the night had not been fair as Cr John Fry had declared a non-pecuniary interest on the matter but chose to participate in the vote.
He has a relative who lives in close proximity to the site and they are known to be strongly against the development.
With councillor Jess Jennings absent on Wednesday, it put councillors Bourke, Christian, Morse and North in a position to successfully rescind the original decision and have the controversial condition deleted.
Cr Christian stressed on the night that a decision had to be made in the interest of protecting the jobs Taco Bell will create.
"This is so important, it's 50-odd jobs for locals and a lot of those people are young people," he said.
"We are currently in BizMonth, we're in the middle of a recession, we've got a job-killing pandemic, a lot of people aren't hiring and the unemployment rate is sky-high ... to jeopardise 50 jobs particularly for our young people, when it's hard enough for them now to get jobs, is unforgivable when we can come back and address this [safety] issue later on."
He also highlighted that councillors hadn't felt the need to raise the issue of the Howick and Stewart street intersection to council staff prior to this DA, as was indicated by the director of engineering services at the August meeting.
Deputy mayor Ian North didn't deny that safety is a concern at the intersection, but said council had to accept the advice from the authority on this intersection, which is Transport for NSW (TfNSW).
"The one area that we had concern about, there is one authority, and that one authority still to this day have said they don't need any treatments on that corner," he said.
Despite the advice from TfNSW, councillors who wanted to retain the condition maintained that it was too dangerous to have vehicles exiting the site via Howick Street and potentially turning right onto Stewart Street.
Cr Warren Aubin said "common sense" was a treatment that could be applied to the intersection and questioned whether 50 jobs were worth possibly losing a life.
"I am still quite comfortable with the decision I made," he said.
Similarly, Cr Jacqui Rudge said that she had nothing against Taco Bell establishing a franchise in Bathurst, but it was presenting a safety issue that council had to look at.
They, along with councillors Fry and Graeme Hanger voted to delete the condition, while the other four councillors present were able to overpower them with the mayor's casting vote.
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