LETTER: Locals take action and pay for vital repairs

EDITOR: On the first weekend of March 2012 the Cooma Monaro Shire experienced a severe weather incident that impacted on many roads in the area. One of those affected was Bumbalong Road in Colinton off the Monaro Highway. The road was extensively damaged and blocked by debris swept under the railway bridge over Collyers Creek. Locals in the area cleared the road and the Cooma Monaro Shire Council attended to perform temporary repairs.

Over the coming months enquiries to the council as to the status of permanent repairs was greeted with the response that they were waiting for Flood Damage Relief from state and federal governments, that they were not funded to carry out repairs of this kind, and, they were under-resourced due to the widespread damage.

Around November the local Progress Association approached a contractor to see if he could be engaged to do some repairs. He was granted a permit to undertake the roadwork to patch the temporary works undertaken by the council. Using his own machinery and accessing road base from local resources it was repaired to the point that emergency services (RFS Cat 1 pumper based at Colinton RFS for example) and locals needing to bring in heavy transport was possible.

There was no recognition of the contractors work, nor recompense of costs. These were met from Progress Association funds raised from the community.

Flood Relief Funding was forthcoming from state and federal governments (as covered by your paper). Further enquiries to the council as to the status of permanent repair and upgrade resulted in us being informed that the culvert under the road needed to be upgraded to cater for the volume of water that came from the creeks catchment area (box culvert) and that as the creek was a native fish hatchery, the Fisheries Department of Department of Primary Industries would need to be consulted and approval gained for any repair to be considered.

Now, some 11 months after the original incident there has been no move to adequately repair the crossing or road. The significant weather experienced on January 27 has resulted in the road being further degraded (see attached pictures of the flooding and consequent damage sustained).

The residents of Bumbalong Valley have been more than patient waiting for a response from council (numerous approaches to the Engineering Department and personal representation to Councillor Martin Hughes) and are now requesting assistance from the local media to have our concerns aired.

Brian and Anita Doswell

Colinton NSW

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