THE motion, moved by Cr Jordan Crugnale, seconded by Cr Neil Rankine, at the March meeting of the Bass Coast Shire Council, “to defer the Surf Parade Path Project for a short time”, must be rescinded.
And it can be rescinded, if a majority of councillors have a mind to do it, because no action has so far been taken to develop a new brief, employ consultants or put the issue out for yet another round of public consultation.
It’s arguable that the motion should have been ruled out of order in the first place because it was at odds with an earlier motion, passed by council, to go ahead and issue a Notice of Decision for the works to go ahead.
Far from being deferred for a “short time”, the motion is likely to cause upwards of a nine months delay with the construction of the path and take $50,000 to $100,000 of ratepayers’ money out of the path construction project.
All for the sake of 0.7 hectares of vegetation along the entire length of the path from Abbott Street to Cape Road (Toorak Road).
If council’s first decision had been allowed to stand on its own, a crucial 70 metre extension of the path, including a pedestrian bridge over Ayr Creek, could have been constructed, in conjunction with the speed humps and other improvements set to go ahead this week.
In fact, the path was designed as an integral part of those “Blackspot” safety works and should be going ahead ASAP to reduce the chance of injury, damage to property or worse.
If there is any such accident on that section of the road in the next 12 months, council will be held responsible for it.
There’s no point beating around the bush on this issue. It is another example of a councillor overstepping her mandate to push her own personal agenda.
When will councillors realise that they don’t represent themselves at the council table and must do the work, ahead of a council meeting, and be prepared to demonstrate majority community support when they call for a change of policy.
We saw it when Cr Crugnale insisted on some last-minute, untried changes to the ‘dogs on beaches’ rules, damning us to two years of strife and upwards of $100,000 in wasted money.
If you could forgive Cr Crugnale for being a novice at the game then, she’s no novice now.
The Surf Parade Path has been a priority of the community for decades and the loss of just 0.7ha of vegetation along the entire length of the path, between Abbott Street and Cape Road (Toorak Road) was an excellent outcome, bearing in mind the safety issues and the fact that it was being constructed next to the bitumen road.
If the council rescinds the motion or moves another motion allowing the path to go ahead, the first stage might yet be able to be incorporated into the present works.