Skip to main content
COVID-19 Support
Support information and resources during the current Pandemic
COVID-19 Support

Surf Beach Sunderland Bay Road and Drainage Improvement


In accordance with the our Urban Road and Drainage Improvement Policy, the Sunderland Bay and Surf Beach estates are the next areas on the priority list, to investigate in regards to a road and drainage upgrade project. As part of the preliminary planning works being undertaken, we will be gathering information from the community regarding the area, from 25 October to 20 December 2021.

Our Urban Road and Drainage Program has delivered infrastructure upgrades in many areas over the years. The upgraded areas are delivered as a special charge scheme which is a legislated process under the Local Government Act 1989. The Act allows us to pass on the cost of constructing sealed roads, kerb and channel, footpaths, underground drainage and other capital infrastructure to the owners of properties. In this case the residents of Sunderland Bay and Surf Beach estates that will receive a unique benefit from the construction works.

Give us your feedback

The information received from the community so far has helped us to determine any existing issues and the expectations for the proposed road and drainage improvement project. The issues of dust, flooding, vehicle speeds and pedestrian safety are widespread across the estates. We have also received many comments highlighting the importance of retaining the unique characteristics of the community, being predominantly a holiday home area/retreat from the urbanisation of Melbourne, as well as connectivity to the foreshore, beach and native wildlife.

The next step is to hear from the community on what improvement works they would support through a potential upgrade project, by completing the questionnaire. This will provide us with an indication of community expectations and where to focus the next round of community consultation, if there is general support. It will also determine the number of property owners who may need access to financial assistance if any potential road and drainage project was to proceed.

We ask all property owners to take the time to read the supporting information provided and only fill out the questionnaire once per property address. Please fill out the questionnaire online or return the attached copy by Wednesday, 22 December.

We will consider the results of this questionnaire at a Council meeting in early 2022.


Surf Beach Sunderland Bay Map

Next Steps

Detail on the next steps following this initial engagement are outlined below:

  • October - December 2021: Information gathering from property owners
  • November - December 2021: Sharing collated information with property owners. requesting a questionnaire to be undertaken
  • February - March 2022: Presenting information gathered and questionnaire results to a Council meeting to determine if more detailed planning and investigations will proceed based on level of support from the community to have the road and drainage upgrade works undertaken

To leave your feedback, please visit the website address below, click the ‘Add your comments’ button and follow instructions on the webpage.

For other feedback options, please see the 'Frequently Asked Questions' section of this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Surf Beach Sunderland Bay Road and Drainage Improvement Project?

A road and drainage improvement project typically involves the construction of road and drainage upgrades, pathways and other associated works like traffic calming in urban areas of the Shire. Council has identified areas like Sunderland Bay and Surf Beach where the existing infrastructure does not currently meet the community’s needs and expectations. These projects are typically funded through a Special Charge Scheme.

What is a Special Charge Scheme?

A Special Charge Scheme is a funding method that allows Council to recover the cost of upgrade works from the property owners who will gain a special benefit from the works. Provision for schemes of this nature are made within the Local Government Act 1989. This has enabled many residential areas to have improved infrastructure for their communities. A Special Charge Scheme can also be considered for township development and traffic management projects.

The aim of this Road and Drainage Upgrade project is to ensure that people in Sunderland Bay and Surf Beach get the infrastructure that is expected in an urban residential area. The people who live there get the benefits that come with good quality infrastructure.

How will Council decide on the appropriate standard of works?

Council has a standard of construction for various types of developments in both urban and rural areas. The construction of pavement and sealing works, underground and surface storm water drainage, kerb and channel, nature strip top dressing, speed humps and pedestrian pathways on selected streets is consistent with standards for urban areas.

What is Councils and Community contribution to the Project?

The overall cost of the project would be split between Council and the local community receiving the special benefit. A large portion (yet to be determined) would be from the local community. 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. Therefore, placing the project at a broad range of $22.8-$30.4M.

A range is provided, as an exact cost cannot yet be determined. Detailed design of the drainage and road improvements has not been undertaken and quantified. Community engagement sessions will help determine the quality and style of the urban features preferred. For example:

  • Will roads have footpaths on one side or both?
  • Will there be additional street trees planted?
  • Will lighting be included?
  • Will traffic slowing devices be installed?
  • How and where will wetlands be installed to improve water quality?
  • Will underground service such as water pipes and Telstra cables require lowering so that kerb and channel and drainage pipes can be installed?

These are all factors that can influence the cost of the project and would be determined after the community decide whether to proceed to develop the scheme or not.

As a comparison only, a recent similar project (although smaller in scale) is currently now being constructed at Pioneer Bay. The total scheme cost is $4.6M and 230 residents are paying for 76 per cent of the costs, which equate to an average amount of $15,000 per property.

I pay rates, why do I have to pay for this upgrade?

Council provides a wide range of services including road maintenance from its rates revenue. The cost of maintenance does not include improvements such as the construction of an unsealed road, kerb and channel, footpaths or drainage, when they are not currently provided.

Council has adopted the Urban Roads and Drainage Improvement Policy, which states that the cost of significant residential road, drainage and/or footpath upgrades must be contributed to, by those properties which primarily benefit from the infrastructure improvements.

What are Council’s payment options for the Special Charge?

Although there is no payment required at this stage, if the project was supported by the community in due course and developed further as a project, there are typically three payment options as follows:

  • ‘Payment Option 1 Lump Sum Discounted Payment’ – payment of the Special Charge in full within 30 days of the issue of the invoice, with a 5% discount;
  • ‘Payment Option 2 Lump Sum Payment’ – payment of the Special Charge in full within 90 days of the issue of the invoice; and
  • ‘Payment Option 3 Instalment Payment Plan’ – payment of the Special Charge in 40 quarterly instalments over 10 years, with interest.
What is the benefit of this upgrade to me?

The direct benefit to the property owner is enhanced amenity to the estate which includes improved access, reduced dust, better safety for vehicles and pedestrians, reduction in road noise or improved storm water control.

When will construction of the project commence?

Construction is not approved or considered at this stage in time. There are several more legislative processes that require the project to be taken through before construction can occur. A timeline of these steps is shown on the website. Typically, it takes 3-4 years of planning, design and approvals before construction could be expected. Firstly community information gathering is undertaken and then a questionnaire is sent out to property owners. This questionnaire is a vital step in the legislative process and if the special charge scheme is supported by the community through this step, the project can continue. If not supported, then the process is halted, which has been the case in other communities such as Sunset Strip and Cape Paterson. If the project is halted, then it may not be reviewed again for many years.

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.

Who can I contact if I have any questions?

If you have questions relating to the construction or staging of the project, please contact Council’s Infrastructure Delivery team.

If you have questions relating to the fundamentals or details of the Special Charge Scheme, please contact Council’s Asset Management team.

If your question is in relation to financial hardship, please contact Council’s Specialist Revenue Officer or the Revenue Service team.

Online feedback

Please visit the website address below, click the ‘Add your comments’ button and follow instructions on the webpage.

Email feedback

An aerial picture of the area has been provided to assist with documenting the location of issues. Please list any issues and note the locations on the attached plan, scan and send to the below email.

Hardcopy letter feedback

Please list any issues on the aerial plan provided and note the locations on the attached plan, then send back to Council in the Reply Paid envelope provided.

Phone call feedback

Please call the Customer Service Team on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211 to arrange a preferred day and time for a member of the Asset Management team to return your call so your issues can be discussed in further detail.

Visit our website Road & Drainage Upgrades | Bass Coast Shire for regular updates.

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.

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.

Staying Informed

The community, local residents, businesses and other stakeholders will be kept up to date with the project via Council’s website and letter box drops or mail outs, where appropriate. For information or assistance, please contact:

Useful Documents