How much is a life worth? That’s the concern brought to the fore for property owners on Boorga Road after yet another accident.
Griffith City Council has made moves towards looking for alternative funding, however producers like Rodney Guest, Jamie Schembri and Andy Ryan sill feel left in the dark.
The Area News’ article in February this year saw Council promise to look for alternative funding sources to seal the road. With a survey now out for residents to tell council about the road’s use, it seems plans are underway.
Acting General Manager Mr Phil King said council is investigating funding options for a sealing project “in partnership with local Boorga Road farmers”.
“The information collected [from the survey] will provide Council with the necessary information to progress this work and seek funding,” Mr King said.
But residents still have no idea where the money will come from.
“I would like to see it upgraded, but I don’t think we as residents should have to pay to get it sealed either,” Mr Ryan said.
Between the countless accidents, damaged stock, wear and tear on vehicles, and the sheer volume of traffic on the treacherous stretch, they’re saying enough is enough.
“We already pay our rates, and I understand we are in Carathool Shire, but that’s not our fault – we aren’t the ones who set the shire boundaries,” Mr Ryan said.
Boorga Road goes through both Griffith and Carrathool local government areas.
“All of this road supplies Griffith township, a lot of revenue comes from this area,” Mr Guest agreed.
While the three appreciate the efforts council have gone to grade the road regularly, they question the process behind the survey.
“The funny thing is, I only found out through a friend who saw it on Facebook. I rang Jamie up a couple of days before it was due - we just didn’t know about it, and I know a lot of other people didn’t know either,” Mr Guest said.
Council have since extended the deadline on the six page survey.
“A lot of questions didn’t need to be asked, like tonnage and destination, but basically all they need to know is how many cars, when, how often,” Mr Schembri said.
Mr Schembri is from Greenview Farm, one of the largest watermelon producers in the region, and has had produce damaged by using the road.
“We had a truckload of melons sent back from Brisbane due to damage from the road, but it’s only a matter of time before someone loses more than profit or efficiency,” Mr Schembri said.
Eight crashes were reported in five years up to 2017, with one crash in 2018 according to Transport NSW data. However the Centre for Road Safety only reports on crashes recorded by police where at least one person was killed or injured, or where a vehicle was towed.
Residents say an accident occurs every three months.
Mr King says the current focus for Council's capital works program, which is heavily dependent on State allocation of funding, is on the continued development of the Griffith Southern Industrial Link Road.
“Council's other priority is the ongoing maintenance of the existing road network, which includes Boorga Road. The maintenance program does not allow for an upgrade from one surface type to another.”
Residents are urged to fill out the survey here.
“If Boorga Road users haven’t yet, Council encourages them to fill out the survey to help ensure the road sealing will provide the infrastructure needed now and into the future,” Mr King said.
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