State election candidates at Katoomba gathering

Political aspirations: Owen Laffin, Kingsley Liu and Trish Doyle in the Baroque Room at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba after their 'meet the candidates' gathering.
Political aspirations: Owen Laffin, Kingsley Liu and Trish Doyle in the Baroque Room at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba after their 'meet the candidates' gathering.

Grand plans for a tree-lined avenue to the Three Sisters have been supported by three of the candidates for Blue Mountains at next month's state election.

Katoomba Chamber of Commerce and Community invited sitting MP Trish Doyle, Liberal candidate Owen Laffin and the Greens' candidate Kingsley Liu to a meet-the-candidates night at the Carrington's Baroque Room last week.

Each had been asked to comment on three main projects put up by the KCCC and supported by the Leura Village Association and Blue Mountains Accommodation and Tourism Association.

The three projects are: The beautification of Lurline Street; further beautification of Katoomba Street; and construction of a walking and cycling route between Katoomba and Leura along the rail corridor.

KCCC president, Mark Jarvis, said Lurline Street, the main route to the Three Sisters, was "shabby".

There are no trees, little shade, few chairs and traffic often speeds along the route.

There are hopes that powerlines could be put underground, an avenue of trees restored (there were trees there many years ago) and a commemorative walk created to acknowledge the 98 men from Katoomba who enlisted for the First World War.

All three candidates supported the projects.

Mr Liu said if plans for Lurline St were implemented, it could rival the leafy avenues of Leura and Blackheath.

Ms Doyle said planting the trees was "completely do-able" but cautioned that putting powerlines underground was more difficult since the privatisation of electricity companies.

Mr Laffin said the projects "should have been done 20 years ago, like a lot of key infrastructure in the Blue Mountains. I would like to see these three projects done and a whole lot more."

The candidates were also asked their views on a new hospital for Katoomba and about traffic issues. Congestion regularly occurs around the two-lane Yeaman Bridge and backs up along Bathurst Road and Katoomba Street.

All three said they supported taking action to resolve the traffic gridlock.

On the hospital, Ms Doyle said it was an issue that came up "every election cycle" but no money has ever been set aside for it.

Mr Liu estimated it would cost at least $300 million to build; Mr Laffin said he thought $450 million was closer to the mark and a new hospital would help attract top-level staff.

The candidates were canvassed about raising the Warragamba Dam wall. Mr Liu and Ms Doyle were opposed; Mr Laffin supported it but wanted "more investigation done" on possible impacts, including on Indigenous sites.