Warren Gorton, David and Robyn Hughes, Helen Spencer and Bill Davis.
Warren Gorton, David and Robyn Hughes, Helen Spencer and Bill Davis. David Nielsen / Lismore Northern Star

Residents seal road deal

TEN Alstonville families have saved Ballina Shire Council thousands of dollars by paying to upgrade their street.

Homeowners in Tuckombil Lane paid more than $55,000 to seal the 1.3km road, but Warren Gorton said it was worth every cent. Some residents put in as little as $500 for the project, while others contributed up to $10,000.

Mr Gorton said they had decided it was 'time to get on with things'.

So after hearing about the Ballina Shire Council's C11 Policy - Contributions for Dust Sealing of Roads, Mr Gorton lodged a submission in December 2007.

“Within eight-and-a-half months it was complete,” he said.

“We are very pleased with the result and how the council helped us.”

Mr Gorton admitted it was work that the council should have done.

“It didn't bother me that much, but it certainly bugged a few of the others,” he said. “We know it was the council's responsibility, but we would have waited until the cows came home to get something done.

“And this has made a huge difference for us.

“It's probably added $50,000 to the value of our properties and the laneway is much safer now.

“I've got no regrets. It's the best thing we could have done.”

Councillor David Wright said Tuckombil Lane was the first road to be upgraded under the new policy.

“The council has many kilometres of unsealed roads. They normally get graded once a year,” he said.

“A few years ago we trialled putting seals on the roads. It costs more than the grading, but not as much as a full road reconstruction.

“So the council has been prioritising which roads need to be done. But if people want to jump the queue, they can pay for it at a reduced rate. The road is then maintained by the council.”

However, Bob Wilson, of the Alstonville Ratepayers' Association, said it was 'a bit weak' that residents were paying for something that should come out of their rates.

“Residents shouldn't have to pay money out of their own pockets. What do we pay rates for? It's a little bit tough,” he said.

“Ballina Shire Council is normally pretty good, so I am quite surprised this has happened.”

Buy your own dust seal
  • Ballina Shire Council: $55,000 for 1.3km.
  • Lismore City Council: Resident pays half the cost, about $22,000 for 200m.
  • Byron Shire Council: Under review.
  • Kyogle Council: Option not available.
  • Richmond Valley Council: User pays, about $45,000 for 200m.

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