Notes from the Mayor - April 2022

Notes from the Mayor - April 2022 image

REGARDING OUR ROADS

I want to take this opportunity to offer the community some important information regarding the roads on Flinders Island. Council is well aware that a range of work needs to be done on many of our roads.  

 

THERE ARE A FEW THINGS I NEED THE COMMUNITY TO RAISE ITS AWARENESS OF

  • Council has not had a drainage program for our roads for a substantial number of years and yet water causes significant damage to both the gravel and the sealed roads. Water washes away the gravel constantly which means that much of the work carried out doesn’t last long. Too much water on the sealed roads leads to soft spots, damage to the edges, and potholes.

  • Much of Council roads equipment is very old and has to be constantly nursed along.

  • Council does not have access to some very important equipment: for example, a steel drum road roller that is fit for purpose.

  • Council owns some pieces of equipment that are surplus to requirements.

  • There needs to be some changes to some of the methodologies used to maintain our roads to as good a state as possible.

  • This Council does not have a rate base to generate the income to implement a road program to the standard we would all like to have.

  • In addition to the above, when this Council began its term, Council had serious financial constraints, which required prioritising where funds were allocated.  

 

COUNCIL STAFF AND COUNCILLORS HAVE BEEN CONSIDERING OUR ROAD PROGRAM SERIOUSLY

A workshop is scheduled for the near future when a holistic approach to road building and maintenance will be planned. This will include:

  • Identifying the big picture – what are going to be Council’s key road goals over the next two to three years?

  • What methodologies might be better employed in the immediate twelve to eighteen months?

  • How do we best respond to everyday problems and emergency road issues that arise?

 

THE BIG PICTURE OF ROADS

The big picture goals include the following:

  • Ensure that the road connecting the north and south of the Island is sealed.

  • Implement a proper drainage system to service as many of our roads as possible.

  • Get rid of some of the surplus road plant; 

  • Prioritise and budget for the equipment that we badly need;

  • Implement a few improved methodologies;

  • Work with the Department of State Growth to negotiate a maintenance program which is achievable with current Council resources for the State-owned Lady Barron Road.

 

THE ROADS TO PALANA AND KILLIECRANKIE

Sealing the final part of the road between the north and south of the island has been a Council priority for many years. Gravel roads will always be part of the Flinders Council road system and there will always be farms and homesteads serviced by gravel roads. Ideally the main villages on the Island are accessed by sealed roads. 

 

COUNCIL IS ADDRESSING THIS

Council lobbied the State Government over the last three years. Prior to last year’s State election, Council was granted $2 million and the sealing of Palana Road between Emita and Five Mile Jim Road has now been completed. 

In addition, Council has managed the finances to the point that we are in a much better financial position. Council grants officers have applied to the Commonwealth Government for a major grant to finish sealing Palana Road. The grant covers only 80% of the required work, with scope to justify a higher funded percentage but, being in a better financial position in addition to having the ability to request a higher funded percentage, Council believes the gap can be managed.

 

DRAINAGE

Council is now of the opinion that to continue to maintain the roads without properly addressing the drainage issue would be throwing good money after bad. From the end of the 21/22 financial year Council is expecting $600K from the Commonwealth and that money will be applied to maintaining a road drainage system on as many key roads as possible. Such a program is expected to take two years – but it will be well worth it, for it will mean that work done will last longer.

 

INTRODUCING A BETTER RANGE OF METHODOLOGIES

When gravel roads are re-sheeted, they certainly look and feel better for a while. However, various weather conditions and traffic numbers can damage the roads very quickly. Our Infrastructure Manager plans to make more use of a method referred to as Rip and Reform. This means that a section of road, instead of simply having new gravel spread and rolled, will be ripped up to a depth of approximately 300mm. Then the road material will be mixed with some new gravel, if needed, and will then be re-formed and heavily rolled. This means that 300mm thickness of road surface will be firmed, impacted, and able to provide an improved road surface.

 

A FEW ADDITIONAL PRACTICES WILL BE TRIALLED

These may include:

  • How road inspections are carried out;

  • How ongoing issues like pot-holes are addressed;

  • Questions as to whether staff rosters for addressing road maintenance are adequate; and so on;

  • Requesting our police to, on a semi regular basis, carry out some random speed testing in particular spots.

 

I AM CONFIDENT THAT THIS DIFFERENT REGIME WILL PROVIDE IMPROVED ROAD CONDITIONS

However, as I said above,

  • No road will never be perfect, the aim is to provide a safe road network. 

  • In dry weather there will always be corrugations! They will be fixed as soon as possible.

  • Roads will be prioritised as to which will be graded when the rain arrives.

  • People must strive to “drive to the conditions!” 

Remarks on social media like Facebook do not initiate service requests. The only thing they achieve is to get people wound up! If you know of a road problem – Ring with a service request or report it online so action can be taken.

  • Work with Council – not against Council.

 

ANNIE REVIE - MAYOR

EMAIL: annie.revie@flinders.tas.gov.au

TEL: 0477 557 338

 

 

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