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Surf Beach - Sunderland Bay Road Rehabilitation

To help answer customer enquiries regarding local roads and dust, a list of Frequently Asked Questions and answers is below.

What is Council doing about the dust?

We understand your frustrations regarding your neighbourhood’s amenity. Dust is a common concern of many others in the community and we receive regular complaints about dust. Council has over 120 kilometres of unsealed roads and open drains in urban areas. These roads are located within subdivisions that were developed prior to planning controls. To address this infrastructure legacy issue and upgrade the roads, drains and paths in these areas Council has adopted the Urban Road and Drainage Improvement Policy (2019). This Policy identifies and prioritises designated project areas for construction. The funding mechanism for each designated project area is adopted through Council resolution. The funding is typically through a special rate or charge to the resident, in combination with a Council contribution.

Why is our seal being removed and would Council consider applying further dust suppressant or temporary road sealing?

The application of dust suppressant seals were undertaken as a trail in Bass Coast between 2005 and 2007. These seals were designed to be low cost and temporary as minimal preparation was undertaken on the subgrade and base materials in order to keep costs low. At the end of the trial in 2010 an analysis was undertaken on the various treatments. This investigation found that the seal was not sustainable over the long term. A management strategy was adopted by Council in August 2013 to resolve this. This has triggered the works to remove remaining dust suppression seals.

The roads which received a dust suppressant seal as part of the trial program are all at differing condition levels. The roads which are being rehabilitated to pre-trial conditions have reached end of life condition, which requires Council’s intervention to meet service targets.

Are we able to get a water cart to spray the road?

With water being a scarce resource and roads drying out very quickly on hot days this practice is not viable. Any spraying of water on the roads is limited to when the road is graded during summer or when additional crushed rock is first added to the road. In hotter months grading is limited as much as possible as this can lead to more fine material settling on the surface of the road and therefore increasing the amount of dust experienced by residents.

Is there any other dust suppression products you can use?

Council trialled a dust suppressant program for its urban unsealed roads using different products. After a number of years the trial was stopped as treatments did not work and were environmentally unsound. In order to permanently resolve dust concerns in urban areas Council has an adopted Urban Roads and Drainage Improvement Policy.

What is being done to address unsealed roads in residential areas?

Some urban areas in Bass Coast have unsealed roads due to no planning controls when they were constructed. To upgrade the roads, drains and paths in these areas Council has adopted the Urban Road and Drainage Improvement Policy (2019). The Urban Upgrade Priority Program is in order with Surf Beach and Sunderland Bay the next project area. The funding under this program is typically through a special rate or charge to the resident, in combination with a Council contribution.

Council generally undertakes these projects one at a time. A project timeline for individual projects found in the Urban Road and Drainage Improvement Framework 2019 allows for a four-year process from project initiation to construction.

Since the late 90’s, Council has completed more than a dozen road and drainage upgrade projects improving the infrastructure and amenity for over 3,000 properties. The Pioneer Bay Urban Road and Drainage Upgrade Project is currently nearing completion. Other examples of completed areas include, Woolamai West, South Dudley and Pine Avenue and Churchill in Cowes.

When will community consultation begin for Surf Beach and Sunderland Bay?

Community consultation will commence in 2021. The initial engagement will further identify the road and drainage issues experienced and determine whether property owners are supportive and willing to contribute to upgrade roads and drainage.

Are unsealed roads a health hazard?

In 2020 the Assessments and Advice Environmental Public Health team at Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria reviewed the product sourced for road making at Bass Coast. The assessment concluded the health risk to residents from occasional exposure to road dust would be considered low.

The material used for road making is applied following relevant guidelines so that it should not affect the health and amenity of residents during road construction or maintenance activities.

What are Special Charge Schemes and why do we use them?

State Government Legislation has recognised that councils need help to provide improved infrastructure for their local communities. Legislation allows councils to pass on the cost of constructing sealed roads, kerb and channel, footpaths, underground drainage and other capital infrastructure to the owner of a property that generally receives a unique benefit from the construction works.

The technical explanation of a Special Charge comes from legislation that allows Councils to recover the cost of works from property owners who will gain special benefit from that work.

Our Urban Roads and Drainage Improvement Policy may help to answer any questions you have about the scope or extent of the projects.

What if you can't afford the charge?

A range of payment options are available to residents who are included in any road upgrade scheme.

Information about Financial Assistance is available for those who may experience undue Financial Hardship as a result of being included in a Special Charge Scheme. For further information on Financial Assistance, contact our Project Officer - Finance on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.

Is council investigating any other opportunities to speed up the process to seal unmade roads and reduce the cost pressure on residents?

With increased growth in local areas, Council is investigating any opportunities for support from State and Federal Governments to fund future upgrades. The rate at which upgrades can occur is currently constrained by funding available.

Where does my rate money go to?

Municipal rates are a property tax that provides Council with revenue to fund a range of universal and essential public services that maintain and support public amenity and provide benefits to the local Community. These services include local roads and drainage, parks and recreational facilities maintenance, arts and cultural services, street and beach cleaning, town planning, public health and customer service. Income from rates make up roughly 80 per cent of Council’s annual income to fund the costs of delivering these services, with further income received through user fees and grants from the State and Federal Governments.

For more information, you can view our proposed Budget 2021/22.