The draft road reconstruction design has been completed for the area of Wilsons Creek Road affected by landslip in the January floods, according to Byron Shire Council’s executive manager of community infrastructure, Phil Holloway.
Mr Holloway said council staff are continuing to work through the approval process for the road reconstruction but in the meantime the five-tonne road limit has created challenges.
One of them is that the recent dry spell is causing water shortages for some Wilsons Creek Road residents.
With little rain in the past two months, rainwater tanks on some of the properties are starting to get low.
‘Unfortunately it means the water trucks, which are normally nine tonnes when empty and 20 tonnes when full, cannot get access to the properties to deliver potable water.
‘Depending on how the residents choose to have their water delivered, either via smaller vehicles or having the water pumped from one side to the other, staff will help facilitate traffic movement and monitor the road integrity for safety,’ Mr Holloway said.
Mr Holloway said that the process of working through all the agencies involved was causing delays in rebuilding the road.
‘The process to qualify for Natural Disaster funding is time-consuming and requires the approval by the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), environmental assessment and approval, approval of a Fisheries permit and approval by Crown Lands,’ Mr Holloway said.
Mayor Simon Richardson expressed his concern and sympathy for the Wilsons Creek Road residents.
‘It’s disheartening that the wet weather has caused the road to collapse and now the dry spell is causing further challenges with water delivery.
‘In situations like this, community spirit is called upon with neighbour talking to neighbour and pooling resources.
‘I have no doubt that the residents will group together and form an action plan and Council staff will assist wherever they can,’ he said.
Mayor Richardson also encouraged the residents to update their bush fire emergency plans.
‘[Byron] Shire has had several years of good growing seasons. Everyone should be getting bushfire prepared and clearing out gutters, removing any rubbish, and keep the grass short.’
In the meantime, Mr Holloway urged anyone who wanted to take a vehicle over five tonnes on the Wilsons Creek Road to contact Council.
‘The road weight limit has been put in place for safety reasons and to ensure that no further structural damage to the road occurs,’ he said.
Wilsons Creek Road landslip collapsed after a substantial storm and flood event on 26 January 2012. As a result, the event was declared a Natural Disaster by the NSW state government.
He also confirmed that unfortunately there is no assistance for the water deliveries available from Emergency Management agencies or financial assistance to Council under the Natural Disaster Relief Assistance Program.
Wilsons Creek Road is a valley road and there is no alternative road access to properties beyond the landslip on the western side. It has been estimated that up to 100 properties and more than 400 people live beyond the landslip.