A CONSTANT flow of traffic wizzes past at speed.
Coming out of the roundabout at the intersection of Bass Highway and Korumburra-Inverloch Road, many of them are still easing down from the 80km/h highway limit as they enter Powlett Street, Inverloch, one of the main entrances to town.
In a few weeks’ time, their numbers will dramatically increase.
All of them are busily going about their business.
Most of them will be going too fast to notice that there’s no pedestrian footpath in the street, and that local residents have to walk down the road or in the bike lane if they’ve decided to walk into town, to the primary school or the beach.
They could walk along the nature-strip but, as was the case last Saturday, the grass was long and rank, hardly conducive to a stroll.
Enough is enough, say a small but vocal group of Powlett Street residents including Brian Ahern, Vanessa Mills and Narelle Shandley.
They say there’s a long history of local residents battling to be heard when it comes to council committing funding for a Powlett Street footpath but they’ve vowed to get a positive result this time, with the new campaign they’ve just launched.
“Most people in the street are paying well over their $2000 in annual rates but what do they get for it,” said Mr Ahern.
“We need a footpath off this busy road. We don’t care which side but it’s simply not safe walking down towards Sandymount Avenue, towards the school.”
He said it wasn’t practical for people to walk or push a pram along the nature-strip with its sloping verges, tree roots and long grass.
“You have to walk down the road here which isn’t safe on one of Inverloch’s busiest streets.”
“We’ve sent letters to all councillors and spoken to the Mayor Brett Tessari but we’ve only received the standard response, it will be considered at budget time.”
Vanessa Mills wants to see action finally.
“There was a petition 11 years ago I believe that ultimately went nowhere. I don’t think the councillors realise the situation here. It’s one of the main entrances to Inverloch, coming off the Bass Highway and Korumburra Road, where people are headed to the school and the like.
“It should have been done 40 years ago.”
The trio is concerned traffic will only increase if a new petrol station development goes ahead on the corner of Korumburra-Inverloch and Bass Highway.
“We’d like to see the councillors come down here and have a look and make a commitment to putting it in the next budget for construction in 2020-21,” said Narelle Shandley.
In a budget of $85 million, the Bass Coast Shire Council has set aside just $21.1 million for capital works this financial year.
South Gippsland Shire, by comparison, has allocated $32.45 million for capital works out of a budget of $67.5 million.
So, is it any wonder that the council has given those lobbying for a footpath along the very busy Powlett Street, Inverloch little hope in the foreseeable future?
The shire’s capital works are expected to kick up to $46.4 million in 2021-22 on the back of $10 million new borrowings and the hope of $14 million in grants, where $2m-$3m is typical so hopefully there’s some money for a footpath in Powlett Street there.