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Sunderland Bay and Surf Beach special charge scheme is underway

Sunderland Bay and Surf Beach special charge scheme is underway

Friday 7 October 2022

Planning continues on local road upgrade project

Development of concept design options for the proposed Sunderland Bay and Surf Beach special charge scheme is underway, with residents soon able to visualise what the potential road and drainage upgrades would look like.

The concept designs are an important part of the decision-making process for residents, as they will show a range of options aimed at improving the quality and safety of local roads, reducing dust and upgrading poor drainage.

The community reference group will help develop and provide feedback on the concept design options prior to these being circulated to the property owners to indicate preferences.

As part of the planning process, Council will also undertake a series of environmental studies in the area to assess any potential impacts on plants and wildlife.

Bass Coast Shire Mayor Cr Michael Whelan said the Surf Beach and Sunderland Bay estates were identified on Council’s road and drainage improvement list as a high priority, as the current infrastructure doesn’t meet the needs of the growing community.

“We are currently in the planning phase, and no decision will be made about whether this project will go ahead, without the support of the community,” Cr Whelan said.

“What we’re doing now is exploring options and then presenting them to residents so they can see what these potential upgrades will look like.”

Previous Special Charge Scheme projects have cost in a range of $1.5-$2.0M per km of road length constructed. The Sunderland Bay and Surf Beach estates consist of approximately 15.2km of road network, placing the project at a broad range of $22.8-$30.4M.

While Council is responsible for maintaining local roads, rates do not cover the majority of costs in significant redevelopments like this one. Given the level of investment required, special charge schemes are used so the residents who will benefit from the upgrades share in the cost.

This model has successfully been used to upgrade the roads and drainage in other areas of Bass Coast Shire including Pioneer Bay, Cape Woolamai West, Pine Avenue and Churchill Drive in Cowes and South Dudley.

Upgrades can include sealed roads, improved drainage systems, footpaths, landscaping, lighting and safety treatments like speed bumps.

“We welcome the debate and discussion around this project, because we want to get this right for our residents,” Cr Whelan said.

“While we are seeking feedback and consulting now, property owners will also have the opportunity to formally provide submissions of the project if it is declared in the future.”

Western Port Ward Councillors, Cr Bruce Kent, Cr Rochelle Halstead and Cr Clare Le Serve, said they were available to residents to provide extra support and answer questions as the project progresses.

Cr Halstead said:

“We know residents have a lot of questions about this proposed project, and we are happy to meet with people to discuss their questions, and any concerns they may have, directly.”

“We are still in the very early planning phase of this project, and will be in a position to provide more information about the benefits, costs and what is involved, once the concept plans are developed.”

“This road and infrastructure project will not go ahead if the majority of property owners are not in favour of it. The material we are preparing now will help residents make an informed decision about what improvements they want in their local area.”

Cr Le Serve said:

“We are at the start of a long planning and investigative process. Often the start of the process can be very challenging for residents, but we do know these types of projects have really good outcomes, as evidenced by Pioneer Bay and Coronet Bay.”

“I have a commitment to legacy issues such as better roads, drainage and footpaths as these as so important to families. We have already received a lot of positive feedback, with residents wanting to see a reduction in dust and safety improvements where they live.”

Cr Kent said:

“We continue to hear from community members how important these types of upgrades are in regard to dust control, their health and the safety of their children through the addition of footpaths. We are in the early planning stages, and it is up to the community to decide in which direction they wish to go.”

Once the current planning phase is complete, Council will be able to advise residents of the proposed costs involved if the project was to go ahead.

A decision on whether the project will proceed will not take place until around August-July next year.