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Frome St fate in State Govt hands: council

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The Adelaide City Council cannot extend and extensively upgrade Frome Street – or its controversial bikeway – without State Government help, councillors have warned.

Last night, the council set itself a March 2016 deadline to reach a funding agreement with the Government for the project.

Yesterday, InDaily revealed Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan was willing to discuss improvements to cycling infrastructure with the council, however he wouldn’t consider joint funding until the council finalised its vision for the street.

Lord Mayor Martin Haese wants the street overhauled with new footpaths, street furniture and greening, and to extend the bikeway towards North Terrace, and beyond, at an estimated cost of $10 million.

However, he needs the State Government’s help to pick up the bill.

Area councillor  Natasha Malani told last night’s council committee meeting that “co-funding with the Government is absolutely necessary”.

“We can’t do it with out the (Government funding),” she said.

“(However) if we can secure that funding , that is a fabulous win for us.”

“Go forth and conquer, Lord Mayor,” she urged Haese, who would negotiate with the State Government on behalf of the council, should last night’s recommendation be endorsed at next week’s full council meeting.

Councillors Phillip Martin and Sandy Wilkinson warned against a repeat of the council’s upgrades to Victoria Square, which the State Government declined to help fund.

Martin told the committee that “some people are really agitated” about the existing separated bikeway, and would suffer “anguish” if the council were to unilaterally fund further, expensive upgrades to it.

“Residents just don’t want us to spend two million a block … substantially more than we are spending on our whole road (network)” he said.

“We need to sit up and see what people are saying.”

However, he said, “if we can get that agreement (with the State Government) we can say to our ratepayers that we have got the best possible deal”.

But Martin also said the council should not move forward with plans for Frome Street until it had a full understanding of the O-Bahn project, the possibility of a Frome Street tram and the impact and requirements of the new Adelaide High School on Frome Road.

Last night’s committee also voted to spend $90,000 for minor safety improvements for the existing bikeway on the southern end of Frome Street.

The council will vote to finalise its position on the project at a meeting next week.

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