Update from Works Department

Update from Works Department image

After receiving so many complimentary comments on my first Island News update, I thought now would be a good time to write a second item and provide residents with a brief update on the past few months and the future.

Recycling on the island and the Whitemark landfill has been absorbing a lot of staff time over the last few months. The initial design for the planned transfer station was completed about a year ago. In my previous item, I stated that construction of the new recycling building at the Whitemark landfill would begin shortly. However, there has been several ongoing changes in legislation and recycling opportunities. Rather than just build what was designed, it was seen as more sensible to pause the project and revisit the design to see how the building could be improved or altered considering the changes and to create maximum flexibility for the future. For instance, with the introduction of the ‘Container Refund Deposit’ scheme, it was important to consider changes to how the transfer station would now operate as the initial design did not include the sorting and storing of different types of drinks containers.

Alongside this, Council has also been able to submit a grant application for additional equipment to support our recycling effort. This equipment includes a moving-floor for recycled material sorting. Therefore, the design of the building now must consider the possibility of installing this equipment and how it would affect the layout. 

Additional equipment also means the building may need to be extended in the future, therefore the building needs to be designed to allow for any extensions in the future.

It is too late to do this after the building has been constructed.

Now that these design issues have been sorted, the final building approval has been submitted and work can begin. The initial site work will involve the laying of the cell leachate pipework and this should begin within the next fortnight. This work will be followed by the bulk earthworks for the transfer station building and then construction of the building itself, subject to the weather and contractor availability.

Much has been said recently about maintenance in general and road maintenance specifically. The fact is that Council only has a limited amount of money available to maintain all of its assets. This is not just limited to roads, it also includes all the other infrastructure such as; maintaining Emita and Lady Barron halls; the public toilets in Lady Barron, Whitemark and Killiecrankie; the BBQ’s in Lady Barron, Whitemark and Killiecrankie; the FAEC; the three boat ramps; mowing the Whitemark foreshore and all the other parks and showgrounds; maintaining all the footpaths; maintaining all the road and other signage, street lighting, and the list goes on.

As I said in my first news item; my first overriding principle when addressing maintenance is to intervene as early as possible so that there is only a small amount of work to be done rather than waiting until it is broken. Run-to-failure has never been a successful way to operate.

So, for instance, is it right to continuously grade a well trafficked road at the expense of all other roads? What about another, less used road where there is no gravel left and the road is slippery, dangerous, and progressively getting worse.

Again, as I said before, my second overriding principle is to plan long-term. This means looking at an issue and deciding what is the best long-term solution that is available, rather than continuing with a line of stopgap solutions.

Therefore, it is a balance between short-term stopgap repairs and longer-term permanent repairs.

As residents who have travelled to the north of the island would be aware, the project to stabilise and bitumen seal Palana Rd from Fairhaven Rd to Five Mile Jim Rd is well underway and on schedule to be completed by the end of March.

As well as this project, Council has been successful in obtaining a grant to upgrade all the guideposts on Palana Rd from Fairhaven Rd all the way to the end of Palana village. This work should begin shortly and be completed by mid-April.

Council undertook several rip-and-reform projects on Melrose Rd between Wingaroo Rd and Lucks Rd, and Palana Rd northwards from the Killiecrankie transfer station. Even though it was predicted to be a wetter than average summer, this didn’t eventuate and unfortunately the road pavement has become too dry to continue with this type of work. However, once the rain returns and there is more moisture in the road pavement, then it is planned to recommence and do further sections of gravel road.

One of the highest priorities on my long-term plan remains to implement a roadside table drain cleaning programme. This will help prevent the rutting on gravel roads from occurring in the first place and therefore reduce the number of times the road needs grading. The long-term goal is to have a stormwater roadside table drain network that operates properly, so reducing to a minimum the amount of stormwater flowing across the road.

Another of my priorities is to implement scheduled, regular, and ongoing inspection and maintenance regimes and I will have more to say about this in future Island News updates.

As always, I am happy to speak to residents and will continue to listen to their comments and take these into account in future planning.

Chris Wilson
Manager Infrastructure and Airport


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