By Gav Ross
PIONEER Bay’s main road has been ‘rehabilitated’ into a slippery, muddy mess, according to residents.
Bass Coast Shire Council has finally followed through with its removal of Kallay Drive’s dust suppressant seal, completing works early last week.
The finished result, however, bears little resemblance to the easy-to-maintain crushed rock surface the council promised.
Horrified residents say they have now been left with a road surface that is “at least 10 times worse” as winter rain sets in.
“It’s just an absolute bloody mess,” Kallay Drive property owner Mike Thomas said as he surveyed the puddle-filled sludge in front of his driveway last week.
“It has been a complete waste of ratepayers’ money.”
Mr Thomas moved to Kallay Drive last December not knowing the council had already made plans to rip up the road before mid-year.
“When I bought this place, I was under the impression it was a sealed road,” he said.
“If I’d known this was going to happen I wouldn’t have bought the property.”
Before learning of Kallay Drive’s fate, Mr Thomas spent $12,000 on a new concrete driveway, along with other major renovations to his new home.
He said he has been left frustrated by the fact mud will now be spread all over his new driveway by entering vehicles.
Mr Thomas was one of several residents who threatened to stand in the middle of the road to block a grader from destroying the concrete seal last fortnight.
“We thought they would start on May 19 when we had good weather, but instead they waited until later in the week once it started raining,” he said, shaking his head.
“On the day they started, they didn’t get turn up until mid-morning, so none of us were ready.”
Watching the road being pulverised from his front gate, Mr Thomas said he witnessed several other residents arguing with contractors and looking distressed.
“Nobody’s happy,” he said.
Pioneer Bay Progress Association (PBPA) president Zena Benbow sought a last-minute reprieve for Kallay Drive earlier this month, sending a 32-page document to the State Government.
She said PBPA requested the temporary seal – which was applied over eight years ago and, according to the council, has rapidly deteriorated since – be left in place due to the impact it could have on the health of some residents.
Along with being forced to deal with increased mud and dust now the road has been turned back to dirt, Ms Benbow said crushing the temporary seal makes it difficult for elderly and disabled residents who want to get out and exercise.
There is no footpath on either side of the Kallay Drive.
She was told the PBPA and anxious residents would receive an answer within a week, but it was too late.
Ms Benbow described the finished state of Kallay Drive as “appalling”.
“It’s very slippery and we have about 50 kids walking up the road towards the school bus stop every morning,” she said.
“Now they have to dodge cars contending with a slippery road.”
Ms Benbow said that even though the road has been ripped up, PBPA will not let the matter rest.
“We want another temporary seal,” she declared.
“I won’t accept anything less and I don’t think the residents will either.”
The council’s director of infrastructure, Felicity Sist, said a “blended crushed rock material” was initially applied to the newly-resurfaced section, but this was swapped to another type of crushed rock “better suited to wet conditions”.
“This material has now been placed over the total length of rehabilitated road,” she said.
Ms Sist confirmed similar works also commenced last week in Dalyston, where Tulloch and Daly Streets are also being returned to gravel.
Le Serve calls for action
KALLAY Drive residents weren’t the only ones unimpressed with their new road surface.
Leadbeater ward councillor Clare Le Serve – who initially voted in favour of the road being returned to gravel back in August before unsuccessfully appealing for the decision to be overturned a few months later – checked out the site early last week.
“It was still very soft and there seemed to be a wet patch in the middle of the road,” Cr Le Serve said.
“It had all gone to potholes already and it was a bit of a mess, really.”
Cr Le Serve said she immediately emailed council’s infrastructure department, requesting the surface be re-evaluated urgently.
“I think whatever they put on the road first was either the wrong material or didn’t do the job,” she continued.
“All it did was make (the road) slippery.”
Cr Le Serve said she hopes a solution to Pioneer Bay’s roads and drainage problems as a whole can be rectified by a special charge scheme, which is currently being developed.