General News

31 March, 2023

Road works to tackle dust sparks debate

A PLAN to seal a 175m section of Godfrey Road, Kairi to reduce the annoying dust the town’s residents put up with will go ahead despite an attempt by three councillors to reallocate the money to fund a design that would allow the whole road to be sealed.

By Robyn Holmes

Road works to tackle dust sparks debate - feature photo

Deputy Mayor Cr Kevin Cardew moved to reallocate the $70,000 set aside to partially seal the road to funding a full design of Godfrey Road so the project was shovel ready and could then be considered for future works and funding opportunities.

“I’m of the view that this short section of seal will have very little impact on the dust mitigation to the south,” he said.

“Having the whole of Godfrey Road designed for bitumen seal with allow for future budget and funding opportunities to do longer sections of the road to ensure that dust mitigation for the town is totally achieved.

“Having a fully designed and shovel-ready project will assist funding opportunities which will not only mitigate the dust for the Kairi township, it enhances agricultural benefits in the area, which, at the moment, arguably contributes to the dust issue on the town.”

Cr David Clifton said Godfrey Road had been on his wish list for the last couple of years.

“The dust is significant particularly in the dri-er times of the year, and as Cr Cardew has pointed out to me, the alignment of the road towards the township is exactly the way the wind blows – it blows down the whole length of the road and the dust all goes into the township,” he said.

“(Sealing) 175m will ameliorate it but it won’t deal with it completely.

“What the people have now is a minor guarantee that some dust amelioration will occur - if we take (the funding) away and put it into a full-scale design of the road, which I have supported for some time now, then we leave the Kairi community in the lurch.

Cr Clifton said he would support reallocating the $70,000 to a design for the whole road, but

only if sealing the first 700m of Godfrey Road was “first cab off the rank” when came to allocat-ing capital works in the next budget.

“Otherwise, you would be selling the com-munity short, completely short. We will take away the project now that would reduce the dust issue, and ‘we will do it sometime in the future’ probably won’t be good enough,” he said.

“It needs to be done in the long run, but the dust needs to be ameliorated in the short term.”

Cr Dave Bilney said he believed the funds endorsed for the 175m of bitumen should remain, claiming the road did not meet the minimum criteria for it to be fully sealed under the council’s Road Transport Strategy.

“Should council go outside its star rating methodology? Does this create a precedent and therefore invite other roads to be given the same priority?” he said.

“In my view, works should occur on roads that meet the necessary criteria under the strat-egy – this is council’s endorsed guiding principle.”

But Mayor Rod Marti said Godfrey Road and the dust it generated for the township was an unusual situation that needed to be dealt with.

“I’d like us to use the money to get the design done but I also agree with Cr Clifton that if we take that path, we need to commit to sealing up to Duffy Road, perhaps in the 2023-24 budget,” he said.

“I hear Cr Bilney’s concerns about the star rating (system) but this does stand alone – this is a road that just saturates a town with dust.

“I don’t think we have any other roads right next to a town that are upwind of the town where the dust for 6-9 months of the year saturates the town. I think that 700m (of bitumen seal) is a priority.”

Cr Bernie Wilce was also worried about committing to seal all of Godfrey Road while other roads in the vicinity were in a poorer state, such as Graham Road which was in “far worse condition” and was part of a school bus route.

Council eventually voted to continue with the original sealing project.


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