Neil Duncan makes a number of assertions in regard to Special Charge Scheme 27 (‘We want the scheme – ratepayer speaks out’, March 4, page 9) but offers little evidence to support his claims. Let me refute some of these assertions.
Mr Duncan claims that sealed roads and drains lead to an increase in property values.
We have found no evidence to support this claim, and indeed, we have considerable evidence that, in Melbourne, unmade roads increase property values and are jealously defended by those who live on them.
Recently, Delta Street, Surrey Hills was offered a sealed road at no cost to the residents, but the offer was firmly rejected, and the road is still unsealed.
I have numerous other examples from other suburbs, including Blackburn and Warrandyte.
A local real estate agent has said ‘people love the ambience of unsealed roads’, and ‘there is no evidence that a sealed road will increase property values, just as there is none that a new bathroom will do so’.
Mr Duncan claims that many who object are ‘part-timers’ who do not live at the Cape.
However, part-timers are the very people who are most difficult to contact.
If Neil Duncan is right, and ‘part-timers’ don’t want the scheme, then opposition is even more overwhelming than we thought it was.
According to the last census, one third of properties at Cape Paterson are occupied by permanent residents.
We have contacted nearly all these people, and only twelve want the scheme.
We also have many holiday home owners who do not want it, and we are continuing to enrol new people in our list of those who object.
At least five have contacted us since the council announced its intention to declare the scheme.
I don’t know how Neil Duncan has arrived at his assertion that permanent residents want the scheme.
Mr Duncan suggests that Preserve the Cape lack popular support – based on one example, for which we apologise.
However, we have had hundreds of emails and letters including many heart-rending emails from elderly people or their family members who are highly distressed by this scheme.
For example, from a Div 1 registered nurse with much experience working with the elderly: ‘I have heard many stories of elderly people being unwell and severely affected by the stress and anxiety that this scheme is causing’.
‘I am a widow and am very distressed by this terrible idea.’
‘My mother has been at the Cape for over 60 years now…’
‘We are outraged by the possible changes to our street and the Cape.’
Preserve the Cape will be happy to assist any who would like help in submitting an objection to this iniquitous scheme.
Anne Wilson (on behalf of Preserve the Cape), Cape Paterson