A PETITION signed by 41 people requesting a priority resurfacing [re-sheeting] of Shellcott Road Yanakie on grounds of safety will be submitted to South Gippsland Shire Council at its February meeting this evening (Wednesday February 23).
In a comprehensive letter supporting the petition, lead petitioner and Shellcott Road resident Marianne Ruff argues that the road “deteriorates rapidly after road grading, with ruts re-appearing within two weeks.”
The letter contends that corrugations cause vehicles to drift out of control onto the wrong side of the road or off the road altogether, and that vehicle occupants are subjected to “violent shaking”.
Council is reminded that Shellcott Road is used for a mix of agricultural and tourism traffic including heavy vehicles, and cars towing boats and caravans, and it is argued that traffic numbers have increased significantly over the last 10 years.
According to Council’s Manager Infrastructure Maintenance Fred Huitema, Shellcott Road is inspected on a four-monthly cycle in line with its road hierarchy classification as a “local place”.
The last traffic count undertaken reported a range of 44 to 50 vehicle movements per day along the road.
Shellcott Road was last re-sheeted in the 2004/05 financial year and the next re-sheet is planned in three years time depending on conditions.
Ten complaints about the condition of the road and its drains have been logged with Council over the last 12 months, with Council’s Communications Coordinator Jeannie Hicks advising that “all have been responded to or acted on”.
Ms Hicks added, “Some re-shaping and re-sheeting of bends on Shellcott Road is planned to take place in the next two to three months.”
If the officer recommendation to tonight’s Council meeting is taken up, consideration of the petition will be put on hold for a month to allow staff to prepare a report for the March 23 meeting.
With the exception of some petitions received at the December meeting, Council’s standard approach to petitions is to formally “lay them on the table” for a month so that decisions about them are taken coolly and on the basis of information provided by staff.
The petitions in December were expedited on the grounds that the summer holiday break – when no Council meeting is held in January – meant that the matters would be unduly delayed if the standard procedure was followed.
Marianne Ruff said she raised the petition because lots of people were angry and complaining about the condition of the road, but most were reluctant to call the Council or their Ward Councillors about their issue.
“Since sending the petition to Council on January 8, we have received a letter from the Shire stating that the inspector reported the road was in “good condition with no defects or maintenance issues”, so we wondered if the inspector visited Shellcotts Road Korumburra rather than Shellcott Road Yanakie!” she laughed grimly.
“As far as we’re concerned, they have not been maintaining minimum standard and we feel we’re not getting the support we expect for the amount of rates we pay.”
Ms Ruff concluded, “A lot of boats are launched from the beach at the end of the road and I feel that the condition of the road has been overlooked by the Council.”