Rotten road is a pain and an ass won’t solve it

ABOVE: Warning sign on Clarence Way. Whoever owns that donkey, please collect.

Susanna Freymark

There was a minute’s silence observed at the Kyogle Council meeting for the death of the Queen.

The meeting on Monday, September 12 was led by Deputy Mayor Tom Cooper.

Mayor Kylie Thomas and Councillor Janet Wilson were absent from the meeting.

Bumpy Omagh Rd

The topic of donkeys came up when Councillor Maggie May congratulated council staff on the completion of Cedar Point Bridge.

The problem is the state of Omagh Rd after Cedar Point Bridge.

“I move that we issue a donkey to every resident of Omagh Rd,” Ms May joked.

More seriously, she asked assets and infrastructure director Tony Lickiss if there was a plan for Omagh Rd.

Mr Lickiss had news that wouldn’t thrill residents who have to drive the dirt road of potholes, made much worse since the floods.

“Omagh Rd is on the approval process,” Mr Lickiss said.

While council works on the design for the road, part of it will be temporarily repaired with gravel.

“Pothole patching will be done too, Mr Lickiss said.

General manager Graham Kennett said he had driven the road.

“It’s not flash,” Mr Kennett said.

He talked about the timeframe.

“We will make a commitment to provide something to councillors and the community when we know,” he said.

“I thought you were making a commitment to the donkeys,” Ms May said.

“I don’t want to make an ass of myself,” Mr Kennett laughed.

But roads are a serious and costly business and there were more questions on more roads.

Omagh Rd is more suited to donkeys. Photo: Susanna Freymark

Clarence Way has to wait

Councillor Danielle Mulholland asked about the potholes on the Clarence Way.

“We have put out 300 tonnes of asphalt by hand on the Clarence Way,” Mr Lickiss said.

“This is in excess of what we do in the entire LGA in a year.”

The plan was to get a second potholer machine on Clarence Way.

The pavements engineer will visit Clarence Way this week but the rebuilding of the road wouldn’t happen until 2023.

Ms Mulholland asked: “Any way to fast track that?”

“No.” Mr Lickiss was clear.

“It is a $20 million program to fix the road,” he said.

And it is a three-year program.

The first year is the design.

The second and third years are for construction.

It is a long time to wait for a decent road for residents in Bonalbo, Old Bonalbo and other communities along the Clarence Way.

Road repair crews are working between Bonalbo and Sandilands and when finished they would head to the section between Urbenville and Woodenbong.

The Clarence Way between Bonalbo and Old Bonalbo remains in a serious state of disrepair.

And more roads

Still on roads, Ms Mulholland asked about the repair of Theresa Creek Rd and Stapleton Rd in Ettrick.

Theresa Creek Rd had had significant work done, Mr Lickiss said. More work was required.

Road crews hoped to be on Stapleton Rd in the next three weeks, he said.

A broken bridge

Councillor James Murray asked about Collins Valley Bridge which partly collapsed and is unsafe to use.

Mr Lickiss said it would take 12 months before it was fixed.

Part of the problem with this bridge is the blue rock it sits on which is less than 4m from the surface. This makes the repair design trickier.

Carrying coffins

Mr Murray asked about access to Woodenbong Cemetery.

“People have had to carry the coffin at funerals in wet weather,” Mr Murray said.

Mr Kennett said there were long term plans  for seating, shelters and parking at the cemetery but he couldn’t see it being done before Christmas.

Mr Cooper congratulated Mr Kennett – “He’s the first one to mention Christmas.”

Funding sports grounds

Nine sports grounds have been funded by the State Government.

They were listed in order of importance:

1 Bonalbo tennis courts

2 Woodenbong Sports Ground

3 Kyogle Recreational Grounds

4 Bonalbo Norman Johnston Oval

5 Don Gully Oval

6 Mallanganee Sports Ground

7 Kyogle High School grounds

8 Kyogle rugby league fields

9 Tabulam Sports Ground

Ms Mulholland wanted to put Tabulam where Kyogle High School grounds was in the list.

Mr Kennett said they had $1.5 million funding which should cover all the sports grounds.

Ms Mulholland argued that council should not be using funding to fix State Government assets such as the grounds at Kyogle High School.

“We take enough cost shifting. It is not our responsibility,” she said.

Her motion to move Tabulam Sports Ground higher up the list was rejected by all councillors except Councillor Hayden Doolan. The other councillors said the school sports ground was used for community sports not just for the school.

Cedar Point Bridge is complete.

What a waste levy

Ms Mulholland moved a motion asking the Minister for Environment and Heritage James Griffin to remove the waste levy charged by the State Government.

She said Kyogle Council was being charged incorrectly given the small population in the LGA.

“This levy is seen as an unfair tax on our struggling communities, and we have been advocating for the removal of the Kyogle LGA for some time, as we believe this levy has been applied to the Kyogle LGA in error and is having a detrimental effect on the wellbeing of our already struggling community,” Ms Mulholland said in the motion.

This issue is ongoing and requires hassling the State Government.

There was a lot of information on this topic and all councillors supported the motion.


Read the financial report for August here.

The podcast of the meeting will be on Kyogle Council website in the next few days.

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