Representatives of a Brindabella Road upgrade advocacy group were upbeat after meeting with SVC Mayor James Hayes, Deputy Mayor John Larter and CEO Matthew Hyde to discuss progress with the Brindabella Road upgrade in Tumut on Wednesday.
The group is known as Brindabella Road The Economic Link (BRTEL) and member Peter Smith said there was agreement that there is an even greater need for the link now than when the business case was first developed.
“We all thought the road would assist in the economic recovery from the disastrous fires earlier this year,” Mr Smith said.
Cr Hayes expressed enthusiasm for the project and said he had detected support for the project across the whole SVC region. He has met with the Chief Minister of the ACT and the Canberra Region Joint Organisation to promote the link which also involves work in the ACT.
SVC has applied for $17 million in funding for the first stage of the project – the mountain section from the Brindabella Valley to the ACT border – a move welcomed by BRTEL.
Discussions about improving the road have been going on for a century, but Cr Hayes believes the upgrade campaign is “in a better position now than it has ever been.”
“We have had meetings with Paul Toole (Regional Transport and Roads Minister) and he has said to put in for funding and that funding is available,” he said.
“It is not the whole amount of funding, but it is a start.”
Despite this optimism, Cr Hayes knows it’s not going to happen overnight.
“It’s a slow process, but it’s a process we have to go through.”
He reiterated his support for the upgrade.
“We are supportive of improving the road, and having a larger project that attracts employment,” he said.
Meanwhile, BRTEL will continue to lobby stakeholders and garner community and business support for the project.
BRTEL Chair, Brian Nancarrow, outlined plans for a major annual cycling event, The Cider Cycle, from Canberra to Batlow across the Brindabella Link in 2021.
The next full meeting of BRTEL will be held in Tumut on September 29 at the Tumut River Brewing Co.