B-double decision angers association

The NSW Ombudsman will not be conducting a formal investigation into the Roads and Traffic Authority's "short- cut" decision to allow B-dou- ble trucks to use the Pacific Highway and the Ocean Shores Community Associa- tion is not happy.

Spokesman, Jim Mangle- son, said the association did not agree with the Ombuds- man's conclusions. Mr Mangleson said OSCA had complained that the RTA had not followed its own guidelines for the gazettal of the highway for B-doubles. He said had the authority done so, the route would not have been allowed because of the impact on the community.

The "excuse" from the Om- budsman that it was too late and the RTA wouldn't do it again because they were now changing their guidelines to ensure it didn't happen again, did not stick, he said.

The association also asked the Ombudsman to investigate alleged clandestine meetings between the RTA and envi- ronmental groups during the planning of the route for the Brunswick to Yelgun section of the highway upgrade pro- ject.

In his report, the Ombuds- man said he understood the RTA did arrange a meeting with environmentalists which took place on May 19, 1999. He said the meeting clearly appeared to have taken place, but questioned if it was "clan- destine". It was not necessarily ap- propriate for such meetings to be made public or advertised, he said. The meeting was not "min- uted", but a list of those who attended was on RTA files and OSCA had the option of applying to view the material under the Freedom of Infor- mation Act.

Mr Mangleson described the RTA's admission that it held a meeting with environ- mentalists before the route was selected and explained at that meeting why the route was chosen before it was ga- zetted as "disturbing".

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