A Maclean, Huonbrook
Further to Steven Brown’s letter in last week’s Byron Echo and my own in previous months, why should Byron Shire councillors expect the residents of Wilsons Creek to form an action group? Is this the only way anything gets done in this shire? The residents of this valley are more than capable of forming an action group and did so in the early eighties to successfully stop the logging of the Blackbutt Plateau. But I repeat why should we have to?
Providing roads and infrastructure is council’s core business. Providing a drivable road to an approximate population of 400 people with no other way to exit their valley should be of the highest priority, given council’s core business of preparing for and responding to disasters. So I fervently hope that council staff, councillors and mayor have made every feasible attempt to expedite this bureaucratic nightmare we find ourselves in!
After I last wrote to the Echo in regard to this matter council’s community infrastructure manager wrote to residents in May and July and outlined the long bureaucratic process that had to be trawled through to apply for state disaster funding and to eventually tender out the work, which will then take an approximate six-month period to repair. The last press release in The Echo was an insult (although I note severely edited by the Echo) and directed residents to prepare their properties for bushfires but not to expect water trucks delivering over the landslip. What a Disaster Management Plan!
We have too many other things to do out here to form an action group. We have potholes to dodge, cars to fix – shaken apart by thousands of road patches, driveways to shovel by hand, buckets to carry from the creeks and properties to prepare for fire! On a more serious note we have work, businesses and families to see to, we have medical and other needs that require us to be able to get to appointments without fear or delay, we have all the needs that any other people have, who have the luxury of a clear exit from their homes.
If/when we do set up an action group and/or if/when the road collapses in the next wet period I certainly hope that Council can show they have taken every urgent step to provide this most basic of services. Oh and by the way I found copies of petitions I gathered and letters written (progress association, school, preschool and school bus driver) and sent to council ten years ago warning of possible collapse of said road with our vital concerns for the school bus, which carries our most precious cargo. The one section of road they did fix as a result of that action is now totally warped, a danger to drive on and not able to be fixed because it is past the road slip. There is also another section of the road between Mill Road and Wanganui intersection in danger of collapse, and council was advised of this years prior to the January 12 landslip.
Please, council do your core business and don’t expect residents to do it for you, especially considering we did a little mini-action group on the subject 10 years ago warning you of this very event occurring.