Cape scheme will still cost thousands
CAPE Paterson property owners could be charged up to $47,200 for the upgrade of unsealed roads and drainage if a special charge scheme goes ahead.
This comes after Bass Coast Shire Council completed the proposed design for the upgrade of unsealed roads and drainage in Cape Paterson.
The design was developed with input from the community after a number of information sessions were held in April last year.
Community members also had the opportunity to contact councillors and council officers to express how they’d like their streets to look and feel.
Each individual property owner has been sent a letter advising of the changes to the scheme as a result of community information sessions and subsequent further liaison with council to develop the final design.
Included in this letter is the revised estimated cost for each individual property owner.
“The input from property owners in the area has been really valuable in developing a design proposal that best meets the infrastructure needs of the community,” council’s infrastructure director Felicity Sist said.
“The design includes the construction and sealing of roads, but also the installation of kerbs and improvements to stormwater drainage by replacing open drains with underground ones, and putting drainage in areas that currently don’t have any.”
Ms Sist said the design also aims to improve the natural amenity of the streets by softening the hard infrastructure through coloured kerbing, and increasing the amount of indigenous trees and vegetation in the streets.
Council said it undertakes these types of upgrade projects to improve infrastructure to benefit those in the community. The Cape Paterson project is estimated to cost more than $7 million, with council contributing around $1.5 million.
For the project to go ahead, property owners in areas that benefit from the project will be required to make a contribution towards the costs of the work.
Council said the minimum charge was $1100 for the owner of a unit within a property that has been subdivided into four units.
The majority of properties included within the scheme will be charged between $12,000 and $14,000.
“This is a matter of equity. When people buy a property or land in developed areas, included in the price is tens of thousands of dollars in infrastructure costs. It would be most unfair to make these residents pay again for someone else’s infrastructure,” Ms Sist said.
“In many older developments, infrastructure was never put in place. This might have been adequate when populations were smaller, but as townships grow, there is a need to improve infrastructure.
“Sealing roads in residential streets not only improves access and mobility for vehicles, but helps to reduce excessive dust generated from unsealed roads.
“Whilst some residents aren’t concerned by dust, many are – especially those who suffer from common respiratory ailments such as asthma. Complaints relating to dust from unsealed roads in residential areas are one of the most common complaints council receives across the shire, including in Cape Paterson.
“Unsealed roads are also prone to potholes and corrugations, which create issues for both motorists and pedestrians.”
Ms Sist said improving drainage would eliminate flooding to some properties caused by excessive stormwater runoff, as well as preventing water from lying stagnant in the street.
The next step is for council to decide at the February council meeting if it will commence the process for a possible special charge scheme.
Should council endorse the process, this will open up the project to formal submissions from residents.
“Following this consultation process, council will ultimately make a decision to proceed, abandon or vary the scheme. However, should more than 50 per cent of residents reject the scheme, then it will not proceed,” Ms Sist said.
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