An open letter to the general manager, Byron Shire Council:
We are a resilient bunch of people living out at Wilsons Creek/Huonbrook, hence we’ve been pretty patient about the situation with the landslip of late January on the road west of the primary school, which currently is only open to one lane with a five tonne limit.
Firstly a big thankyou to the staff and contract workers who worked under very difficult conditions to stabilise the road to this point, and to Tony Nash who has fielded countless phone calls from us all.
We’ve received only one written update so far with little detail, explaining that Council is preparing final design and cost estimates so as to put a submission for state government disaster funding. The update states that a timeframe cannot be provided.
The current five tonne limit is impacting on this community in a number of ways. The Wilsons Creek Road is the only road in and out of the valley.The usual school bus and garbage truck have been unable to cross the one lane. Parents have had to transport their children (sometimes twice if both primary and high school) up to the slip and have their children walked over the slip.
Some locals with earth-moving and other businesses have suffered losses in not being able to move their trucks or equipment over the one lane and go to work.
Others have had their own private driveways and bridges damaged in the same flood event, and cannot order gravel trucks or earth-moving equipment to fix them.
Council itself seems unable to get their own equipment and trucks through because the rest of the road west of the slip has grass one to two metres high encroaching onto the verges, with numerous potholes, further sections about to collapse, and drains full of gravel so that in another flood event the water will be unable to get away and will cause further havoc. People are unable to bring in removal trucks. And I believe the fire trucks are also prevented from crossing. I’m sure there are many more impacts not listed.
It has been said the road at the slip is in danger of total collapse which could potentially mean the stranding of some 300–400 people. This would mean that all our livelihoods would then be threatened, and this would not be a pretty situation!
Given the seriousness of the situation we request that the general manager take the opportunity in The Echo to explain in detail the steps that are being taken by Council and the state government to repair the road, and to outline the expected timeframe.
In addition there could be regular updates provided on Council’s website to keep the residents informed of each step of the process, as well as providing leaflets at the site. Keeping the community more informed would be appreciated.
A Maclean, Huonbrook