Bev JordanCommunity News

Mounting Anger Over Council’s Failure to Repair Roads

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″ offset=”vc_col-lg-1/5 vc_col-md-1/5 vc_col-xs-1/5″][us_image image=”67177″ size=”thumbnail” align=”left” style=”circle” has_ratio=”1″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/12″ offset=”vc_col-lg-4/5 vc_col-md-4/5 vc_col-xs-4/5″][vc_column_text]By Tony Bosworth[/vc_column_text][us_post_date][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Back a while ago a pensioner got in touch with us at Hawkesbury Post, very upset and telling us he’d just had to spend over $800 getting his car repaired after hitting a deep pothole on Greggs Road, Kurrajong, which Hawkesbury Council had failed to repair for months.

Being a pensioner, he could ill-afford such a payment and given he wasn’t at fault that just made it sting more.

But there’s zero hope of any compensation from Hawkesbury Council, even though they are responsible for providing road repairs.

At the September Council meeting, Liberal Mayor Sarah McMahon brought a lengthy Mayoral Minute before the chamber, which asked staff for “an update on the 2020-2023 roads program including anticipated timing and funding,” and a “plan to address the immediate state of potholes across the local government area”.

The Mayoral Minute pins the blame for lack of repairs and good roads on a backlog of repairs over the last decade, poor tracking and recording systems, poor quality past work, and small number of trained staff, NSW skilled workers and shortage of road-base, the sheer scale of the issue, and the fact they apparently have too few staff able to sign off on finished repairs.

It’s not clear how the report will speed up repairs, given the issues Council says it has.

We’ve received a barrage of emails, messages through social media, and phone calls from residents in just about every Hawkesbury suburb complaining about dangerous potholes and poor road surfaces, about the delay getting flood and rain-damaged roads repaired.

Residents – many recently hit with a rates rise voted through by Hawkesbury councillors – are demanding to know why there seems so little action.

Most of the roads in the Hawkesbury are the responsibility of Hawkesbury Council, with the exception of main roads such as Bells Line of Road and most of Windsor Rd, which falls to the RMS and Transport for NSW to repair. You can take your pick from a long list if you want to talk unrepaired roads but one which has been an issue for literally years is Old Pitt Town Rd.

Resident Kelly from Pitt Town – most people do not want their full names published for fear it could put their road repairs on the back-burner, or even further back on the back-burner – pointed out the seriously pockmarked road is, “the only exit for 5500 Pitt Town residents should they need to evacuate immediately”.

And of course that is a very real possibility, once again, given we could be looking at another flood event soon, with the La Nina weather pattern returning and Warragamba Dam sitting at 100% full.

Kelly has been regularly reporting the dire condition of the road to Council since at least 2018 – we’ve seen the email trails – and to individual councillors, including Mayor McMahon who told her in August, “we need to act”. Kelly says, “there are lots of promises but zero action. There just aren’t excuses left anymore.”

At the September Council meeting the Mayor said there was, “no hiding from the fact we do need to address the road situation”.

She said that at the October meeting there should be a list of roads, what needs to be done and when it will take place, and which pool of funding repairs are going to come from.

Cllr Eddie Dogramaci said he was wondering if he should sue the Council he sits on for damage caused to his car after hitting a large pothole. He also claimed the Council were “doing nothing”.

But Cllr Mary Lyons-Buckett said, “we are trying to do the best we can do,” and she thanked Council’s Infrastructure department, “for doing their best in very trying circumstances. It’s very challenging and it’s also very easy to understand the frustrations of our community when they do approach us and they are critical of us”.

You can read more Hawkesbury news at Hawkesbury Post on www.hawkesburypost.com.au or facebook.com/hawkesburypost[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Bev Jordan

Bev Jordan studied journalism at Harlow College in the UK.  She achieves a Diploma in Journalism from the National Council for the Training of Journalists. After migrating to Australia at the end of 1984, she took up a Senior Journalist position with Cumberland Newspapers, based on the Parramatta Advertiser. She has since worked on the Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald and was a lecturer in Journalism at Macleay College in Sydney. Bev returned to Cumberland Newspapers (NewsLocal) and worked for 30 years covering all different mastheads, including Mosman Daily, Mount Druitt Standard and finally Hills Shire Times for the last 17 of those years. Bev’s passion has always been local community journalism.  She says “As a journalist, I have always seen it as my job to inform, inspire and involve.  I am a passionate advocate for organisations and people making a difference to the world around them. Connectedness is so important to the health of an individual but also to a community, no matter how small or large.

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