Residents to pay for road upgrade

A GROUP of Cohuna residents will have to pay a combined total of more than $250,000 to have their road sealed.

Gannawarra Shire Council plans to implement a special charges scheme to cover the cost of upgrading a 500-metre section of Lyons Road.

Councillors approved the proposed scheme last month, following on requests from residents calling for the sealing of the fine crushed rock laneway, which runs from Rovaris Road to a dead end.

As council sees no community benefit to be gained from sealing the road, it will ask the affected landowners to cover all costs – a practice successfully undertaken with other projects previously completed within the municipality.

According to council documents supporting the implementation of the scheme, residential contributions range from $8000 to more than $100,000 – with the majority of landowners being asked to pay $26,925 for the upgrade.

Surveys were sent to the affected landowners last year, with five responses supporting the proposal.

The proposal did not receive the unanimous support of council, with Cr Sonia Wright and Cr Mark Arians opposing the plan when it was raised at the March council meeting.

"I am personally uncomfortable with Gannawarra Shire sending our Cohuna landowners on Lyons Road – who are wanting a solution to the poor condition of their gravel road, but have a willingness to contribute – a letter in the mail for a quotation of $26,925 each on average to have a sealed road," Cr Wright said.

"These ratepayers are living in residential homes in a growth area of the Cohuna township and are only asking for a reasonable standard of road.

"I would like to see more conversations around alternative solutions and, more importantly, another two quotations to compare if the overall cost of $284,324 for approximately 500 metres of road, to fulfil the needs of these residents, is reasonable."

If approved by council, landowners who will directly benefit from the upgrade will have to pay their contribution to the works within 30 days of receiving an invoice or enter into an instalment agreement.

Affected landowners have until Friday, May 4 to express their views on the matter, and may also choose to address a committee of council regarding the proposal on Monday, May 7.

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