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Call for DIY road crews

DIGGING IN: Councillor David Yarnall shovelling water from a 10cm deep pothole on Keerong Rd at The Channon. He has suggested giving residents the equipment to fix roads themselves to speed up the rate of repairs. Doug Eaton
DIGGING IN: Councillor David Yarnall shovelling water from a 10cm deep pothole on Keerong Rd at The Channon. He has suggested giving residents the equipment to fix roads themselves to speed up the rate of repairs. Doug Eaton

FRUSTRATION at the dire state of rural roads has sparked a push for Lismore City Council to supply ratepayers with the raw ingredients to fix potholes and other road hazards near their homes.

The DIY citizen road gang, mooted by Lismore City Councillor David Yarnall is facing a number of major roadblocks given the labyrinth of insurance and workplace health and safety regulations that would apply.

But The Channon resident has challenged naysayers to come up with a better solution because he says the situation is now critical and will only get worse.

"It's not good enough to say it's the wet weather, it's the soils," he said.

"We've got to address the problem and not put it in the too-hard basket."

Of the total $10 million roads budget, $1 million is allocated to the maintenance of Lismore City Council's 400km network of unsealed roads.

But council estimates that double that figure is needed to bring them up to standard.

Cr Yarnall said with more government funding unlikely to be forthcoming in the short term, and ratepayers opposed to rate rises, council needed to look outside the square for solutions.

There's evidence that many residents are already taking matters into their own hands using farming equipment, rocks and gravel to smooth over dangerous potholes posing a danger to their vehicles and lives.

But some ratepayers understandably are questioning how the money they pay to council already is being used and where it would all end.

Would they eventually end up being expected to empty their own bins and scrub the streets as well?

Cr Yarnall recognises all these concerns as legitimate, but is urging anyone who has a better idea to step forward.

Deputy Mayor Isaac Smith thinks it's a fantastic community-orientated idea - in theory.

But he says the legal and insurance problems, including placing council at risk of being sued, are too big to overcome.

But he says he will support having council staff investigate its feasibility as long as it doesn't soak up too much time and resources.

Southern Cross University law lecturer Serge Killingbeck described the ideas as "unrealistic and unworkable" as citizens would not be covered by council's public liability insurance, leaving it potentially liable for massive payouts.

The notice of motion will be considered on Tuesday night.

Topics:  lismore city council, potholes, repairs, roads


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