RESIDENTS situated along one of Phillip Island’s most popular tourist thoroughfares are calling on Bass Coast Shire Council to address the plumes of dust caused by traffic.
Stretching from Surf Beach into Sunderland Bay, parts of The Esplanade were treated with a dust suppression seal last decade, leaving the road looking similar to a regularly bitumen street.
This, however, has failed over time, resulting in shire contractors ripping up the seal and returning the road to gravel.
Surf Beach resident, Lou Pecora, says the issue of dust is particularly evident at the Sunderland Bay Road intersection, heading west.
“Every time a car goes through this section there are great plumes of dust and it’s only going to get worse over summer,” Mr Pecora said.
“I’ve heard from several people in the area who purchased a property thinking they had a sealed road, but now the seal has been ripped up.”
The matter was raised at the October council meeting during Community Question Time.
Speaking on behalf of 12 fed up residents from the area, Sunderland Bay resident, Bob Hayes, asked: “If council is genuine about ratepayers’ health and wellbeing, what measures will council adopt to reduce traffic volumes and traffic speeds as a means of reducing the dust problem and restoring the quality of life that residents have rightly enjoyed over the past nine years?”
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Kimberley Brown, said the council’s new Urban Roads and Drainage Improvement Policy allows for property owners in a particular area to approach council for an upgrade – as long as 70 per cent of ratepayers are in favour of a scheme and willing to open their wallets.
Mr Pecora said that if the majority of property owners did agree to contribute, there’s no guarantee The Esplanade would be upgraded for “years”.
“If a 70 per cent vote could miraculously be obtained in a timely manner and in an area such as Surf Beach, would council place it ahead of Sunset Strip and Pioneer Bay?,” he said, referring to two schemes currently underway.
“If not, what will council do to alleviate the dust problem at Surf Beach while it waits its turn to be upgraded?
“It appears that the special charge scheme for Surf Beach and Sunderland Bay will not come around for a number of years.
“By the time community participation is finalised, it will be several years before a decision is made.
“Even if a special charge scheme is adopted, it could be up to 10 years before these busy and important roads have a sealed surface.
“It seems unreasonable to expect residents who have had a dust free surface for the past several years, to then have to endure the next decade with a dust problem that is predominantly created by non-local traffic.
“If council cannot see the merits of restoring the primer seal until the special charge scheme can be voted on, then I hope it has the prudence to provide speed calming measures and signage to deter non-local traffic on busy roads that have yet to have an opportunity to vote.”