$400,000 in Section 94 Contributions cut by council

A cotton storage facility on Yarrandale Road could have a fee from Dubbo Regional Council slashed by $400,000.

The facility, which will be comprised of two buildings used to store cotton until it is transported by train, was approved by council in January.

During the approval, the Section 94 Urban Roads Contribution was calculated at $416,000, based on the standard rate of a facility of its size.

However, at Monday night’s Planning and Development committee meeting administrator Michael Kneipp supported the recommendation that the contribution should be reduced to $13,000.

Section 94 contributions are calculated based on gross floor area of a development and the number of trips it generates.  In the 2016/17 financial year the rate is calculated at about $512 per trip. The fees are used to fund and enhance traffic infrastructure where needed.

Council’s director environmental services Melissa Watkins said the discrepancy arose as the Section 94 Urban Roads Contributions did not list every single type of development that could go on a site. As such, the contribution was calculated based on a standard warehouse facility.

In this case, the storage facility would not generate the 813 daily trips initially calculated, as deliveries to the shed would only be made the 20 weeks of the year during harvest, there will be a low number of staff at the facility and products will only be delivered to the facility, not taken away, as that will be done via train.

Instead, the number of trips to and from the storage facility was found to be about 26 a day, reducing the Section 94 Contribution to $13,322.

As part of the recommendation for approval, Mr Kneipp added a further condition. It states that to confirm the accuracy of the new contribution, data on the number of vehicle movements the storage facility generates was to be submitted to council for a period of three years once the operation begins.

It would give the reduction in the Section 94 Contributions support, Ms Watkins said.

“We’re confident in the data that we’ve been provided but this just adds a little bit more certainty to the numbers,” she said.

While Mr Kneipp gave his support to the recommendation on Monday, he will still have to approve it at the May council meeting next week before it is finalised.