A strategical balancing act

DUBBO's leaders will have to weigh up whether new assets or the replacement of worn-out roads comes first as it rolls out a $121 million strategy during the next 30 years.

Dubbo City Council adopted the game plan to keep the junction of three highways a 10-minute city for its more than 40,000 residents.

The strategy starts in 2016 with the extension of Boundary Road from Wheelers Lane to Keswick Parkway South and lists 30 more projects for completion from then until beyond 2045.

Council staff reported to the works and services committee it would become a major driver of the organisation's future service delivery standards but the councillors' work in building a strong city was not finished.

The strategy was adopted against a background of Professor Percy Allan's report in 2012 that Dubbo would have $130 million of overdue asset renewals.

The report showed that most of those would include, mainly, worn-out roads in need of replacement - within 20 years - if the status quo remained.

Technical services director Stewart McLeod hinted at the black hole in his recent report to the council, which also included feedback on the strategy from community members.

"The relative merits of funding backlog infrastructure works versus the new growth-related assets will need to be debated over time by council and determined accordingly," he said in the report.

In the meantime the council began selling the Dubbo Road Transportation Strategy to 2045, along with the $244 million Dubbo City Council Infrastructure Strategy 2036, as a feat in planning for the future.

It relied on projections by KPMG's Bernard Salt of an extra 9500 people by 2036 in the preparation of the planned works, which Mr McLeod had said in his report should be made a "core priority by this generation".

With the projected population - generating the need for an extra 6100 homes - it was important plans were in place to address long-term requirements beyond the current urban area, Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson said.

"Council has a strong history of planning for the future, therefore the strategic location of existing facilities ensures they are in good shape to cater for such growth,'' he said.

The $244 million strategy addresses the council's roads, water supply, sewerage and stormwater drainage infrastructure needs in the next 25 years.

The two strategies align with the recently-adopted Dubbo 2036 Integrated Plan and the Dubbo Economic Development Strategy.

"All of council's long-term strategies are about doing what's right for Dubbo and I thank the community for providing further input throughout the latest round of public consultation,'' Cr Dickerson said.

faye.wheeler@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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