SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

THE way property prices have gone in the past year, you couldn’t buy a house along The Esplanade in Sunderland Bay or Surf Beach on Phillip Island for under $1 million.

There’s one for sale in the street now, granted it’s a nice place with magnificent sea views, for $2.75 million.

Which makes it completely ridiculous that these homes are facing a dirt road with third-world drainage out the front.

Retaining the character of the place is one thing, but time has definitely moved on from when you could put a $40,000 house on a $35,000 beach block and never see a car from one day to the next.

It’s a busy, popular area now with most of the beaches, between Sunderland Bay and Forrest Caves accessed regularly, and not just during the summer months.

The Esplanade, in particular, should have been upgraded with bitumen seal, kerb and channel, and better footpaths years ago.

Imagine how good it would look now. Imagine the real estate prices too! Potentially adding hundreds of thousands to values.

The Bass Coast Shire Council, to its credit, has taken the project on and is in the early stages of consulting with the community ahead of trying to get a majority of the residents of Surf Beach and Sunderland Bay to support the idea of upgrading all of the roads and the drainage in these adjoining estates.

Predictably, there are some people, maybe hundreds of people, who don’t want to pay their $18,000 to $20,000 share of the works but the reality is it should have been done years ago.

And quite apart from the potential health risks and general inconvenience of putting up with the dust and the open drains,

it’s costing the rest of the shire’s ratepayers a lot of money to maintain these unmade roads and drains.

Which makes a mockery of only giving the affected residents the vote.

And surely, it shouldn’t need to take four years to get a decision, either for or against, about going ahead with the scheme especially when there is such a backlog of unmade roads in coastal settlements right across the shire that need doing.

Take it to the vote, back the judgement of the people and just get on with it!