COUNCILLORS are sick and tired of VicRoads’ inaction on refusing to drop speed limits on dirt roads and a failure to take care of the entrance to Phillip Island, including San Remo and the bridge.
And now they’re taking it into their own hands.
Mayor Cr Pamela Rothfield brought up a motion at Wednesday’s council meeting to install ‘advisory’ 40km/h speed limit signs along Punchbowl Road, San Remo.
It comes more than 10 months after the council received a petition from residents on the dirt road asking them to reduce the speed limit to 20km/h so the road can become a shared walkway with cars.
Cr Bruce Kent said VicRoads had a specific “formula” to determine speed limits.
Earlier this year, citing a VicRoads manual on road speeds, shire officers concluded “San Remo does not warrant a speed reduction”.
But at Wednesday’s meeting, Cr Kent vented his frustration with trying to communicate with VicRoads and the 100km/h speed limit on Punchbowl Road.
He said the community had been putting up with cars travelling too fast and dust issues for far too long.
“All I wanted to achieve with VicRoads was for someone in their office to jump in a car and try and travel along Punchbowl Road at 100km/h without killing themselves,” he said.
“Hopefully we might produce a little bit of embarrassment here with the recommendations… the council has conducted speed measuring along this road and the community has responded by the vast majority travelling at a far lower speed than 100km/h.”
He agreed with the original petition that it should be a shared roadway and was hopeful it would eventually happen, connecting the two pathways at either end of Punchbowl Road, creating better access to the George Bass Coastal Walk.
The police officer said 40km/h signs were only advisory limits and not enforceable. He added that the council had not given up approaching VicRoads on reducing the speed limit.
The motion received unanimous support from councillors. The council will also install temporary traffic counters on Punchbowl Road over Christmas and the New Year to obtain data “over the high peak period”.
Punchbowl Road residents have also written to the Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan seeking a speed reduction on the dirt road.
Island entrance ‘unacceptable’
Island Ward Cr Stephen Fullarton also let loose on VicRoads at Wednesday’s meeting in Cowes, calling out the “untidy and unacceptable presentation” of Phillip Island.
He received a phone call from a local business owner shortly before the meeting, who was “totally dismayed” at the weeds approaching the bridge, amongst other issues.
The councillor tried to organise a meeting with VicRoads but couldn’t get one until late February. He saw that as too late.
“We’ve got tens of thousands of people about to converge on the island, we’ve got hundreds of thousands over that Christmas period and it’s just so wrong to see that and we need to address this immediately,” he said.
The business owner told Cr Fullarton that if VicRoads weren’t going to clean it up, there was a group of locals who would do it.
Cr Kent took the chance to further express disappointment at VicRoads, adding that many personnel would pass over the bridge and would’ve also seen the graffiti on the wall.
The graffiti extends for more than seven metres.
Cr Michael Whelan voted against the motion, not agreeing with bringing up the issue at a council meeting, and instead wanted to deal with it through “diplomacy”.
He also didn’t understand why it was brought up as “urgent business”, because “I’m sure the weeds didn’t grow yesterday”.
Cr Fullarton fired back at his colleague and said the council had tried “diplomacy” but it was time for urgent action.