By Kirra Grimes
RESIDENTS of Sunset Strip on Phillip Island have banded together to demand better treatment from the Bass Coast Shire Council.
Over 200 residents signed a joint letter presented to Bass Coast Shire Mayor Cr Brett Tessari last week, setting out a list of requests for how they’d like to see their rates spent.
“I believe it’s about time our rates were spent to improve our quality of life not destroy it with dust,” the letter states, referring to council’s recent decision to remove the ‘primer seal’ coating from the estate’s roads, which residents say has resulted in “excess” dust “coating” their “lungs… bodies… children… homes, cars and gardens”.
As well as requesting that the roads be re-covered with the “successful” primer seal dust suppressant, the residents have asked for improvements to the estate’s park, including the addition of a public toilet and barbecue, and for the removal of undergrowth in the bush at the top of the estate, which they regard as a fire and snake hazard.
They’ve also objected to the potential introduction of an “excessive” special charge scheme, which would see ratepayers bear a significant proportion of the cost of sealing the estate’s roads, under a council policy to bring all unsealed roads in urban areas up to modern standards.
Sunset Strip is currently fourth on the list of local areas being considered for a special charge scheme, and 70 per cent of ratepayers would have to agree to the scheme to get it reprioritised.
But, as resident and campaign leader Colleen McGrath puts it: “Nobody wants to pay to get the roads sealed. We just want a bit of dust suppressant”.
Following a trial dust suppressant program from 2005-2007, council maintains that “dust suppression seals are a costly, short term solution, and we now have better long-term alternatives”.
But Cr Tessari has agreed to present the joint letter, as a petition, to his fellow councillors for consideration.
Council’s General Manager Business Transformation Allison Jones confirmed: “This petition will follow the normal process of being presented at an Ordinary Council Meeting, and must lay on the table until a future Ordinary meeting.
“At that point, no motion, other than to receive the petition can be accepted by the chairperson, unless council resolves to deal with it earlier.”