Dust up with council

A group of Kyneton residents is calling out the shire council for reneging on its stated policy in relation to road sealing.
Four residents whose properties border an 800-metre unsealed section of Batters Lane are fed up with the level of through traffic sending a constant stream of dust across their properties.
The road presents a detour around the town for cars and trucks wanting to get to the freeway, golf course or shooting range and traffic is constantly speeding up it, but there’s no way these residents – Trish Harris, Steven Wilson, Jenny Stubbs and Alan Smith – can afford the $90,000 between them they’re told they’d need to find to have the road sealed.
“It’s now become a thoroughfare, that’s causing the corrugation, causing the dust, and cars just fly through, there’s dust everywhere,” Trish said.
“In the summer you can’t put your washing on the line because it just gets covered in dust,” Jenny said.
“We have to have our tanks cleaned out every year,” Alan said.
The group contacted council in March requesting the section of the road be sealed to match the rest of Batters Lane.
A council officer sent Trish council’s road sealing policy, which stated that if through traffic accounted for more than 76 per cent of traffic, the road could be sealed at no cost to the residents.
Road counters were then set up to gauge the number of non-local cars that were using the road.
“The volume of through traffic was in excess of 82 per cent and based on the information in council’s current policy, costs to have the road sealed to the residents would be zero per cent,” Trish said.
“We were advised that despite what the current policy stipulated, we would still be required to pay a percentage of the costs to have the road sealed.”
Dale Thornton, council’s director of assets and operations, told the Express council did not have a funded capital works program to upgrade unsealed roads.
“Unsealed roads are only sealed as a result of a new development (i.e. new estate) or through a special charge scheme,” Mr Thornton said.
“Under a special charge scheme, costs of sealing a road are shared between council and benefiting property owners.
“While the policy states owner contributions would be zero per cent of cost if traffic volume is of 76-100 per cent, this is subject to council approval.”
Mr Thornton said the only projects for the sealing of an unsealed road that had been approved by council in the past 15 years had a percentage of contribution from benefiting property owners through a special charge scheme.
“Batters Lane will continue to be inspected and maintained, with grading and repairs taking place as required,” he said.

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