Not enough

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Not enough

Disillusioned: Leongatha Progress Association president, Terry Aeschlimann with the 500 signatures on the Leongatha heavy vehicle bypass petition. Deputy Premier, Peter Ryan has suggested 1000 are needed.

FIVE hundred people have signed a petition calling for a heavy vehicle bypass in Leongatha.
That’s about half the number that Deputy Premier local MP, Peter Ryan has said are needed.
The result bitterly disappoints Leongatha Progress Association president, Terry Aeschlimann, who gathered up most copies of the petition on Friday.
“Leongatha is living up to its reputation – please do not disturb me,” he complained.
“I’m frustrated.
“This town has huge potential and it’s not being tapped into.
“The town gets what it deserves; you can’t flog a dead horse.”
He doesn’t know how to shake the apathy, but blames what he calls “leftovers from a prosperous past”.
Nevertheless, the signed sheets will be presented to Mr Ryan sometime soon.
Mr Aeschlimann said he’s not surprised by the lack of response.
“I suppose 500 signatures is something; that’s 10 per cent of the population, but we have a hinterland of 30,000 people.
“I didn’t really know what to expect.”
He had hoped the petition would be well supported.
Mr Aeschlimann said the progress association had been working for a number of years to try to get heavy traffic out of the main street of Leongatha.
So has the Leongatha Chamber of Commerce, not to mention South Gippsland Shire Council.
Graeme O’Connor and Karen Lawson, who run Great Southern Saddlery Camping and Clothing at number one Bair Street, strongly favour the bypass.
“Some of the trucks go through pretty fast. I saw one the other day that wouldn’t have been able to stop if it had had to,” Ms Lawson said.
“If they are going slowly it’s not an issue. It’s not just trucks, it’s all vehicles. There are a lot of near misses on this intersection; it’s very busy.”
And, she added, two or three times a week, cattle trucks round the intersection and manure falls out the back, leaving a nasty green trail around the corner.
“It stays there until it washes away.”
Ms Lawson said trying to pull out of the car park behind the store is a nightmare and endeavouring to walk over the road to the post office is hard.
Mr O’Connor said when he came to Leongatha 20 years ago and first attended a chamber of commerce meeting, the heavy vehicle bypass was a matter for discussion.
“I’m very much for it. As a retailer, we need to look at the big picture. We’d have safer streets and could do more with parking,” he said.
When The Star did a truck count at the Bair/McCartin Street roundabout in the middle of February over a 20 minute period, 32 trucks went through the CBD. These included cattle trucks, tankers, a rubbish truck and a huge log truck that had some difficulty negotiating the roundabout.
Leongatha Chamber of Commerce president, Darryl McGannon said it was disappointing to have such a small number of signatures on the petition, but added, “It is a start.”
He is keen to see Bair Street redeveloped as per a shire plan, but that can’t happen until a bypass route is determined.
The chamber discussed the bypass issue with Peter Ryan before the November state election.
South Gippsland Council has a preferred route for the bypass, which would have to be developed by VicRoads.

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Posted by on Apr 5 2011. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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