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Increased grading and pot hole repairs on rural roads

Bland Shire Council will alter its works program to accommodate an increase in dry grading and pot hole repairs on rural roads in 2017-2018.

After receiving feedback from the community through recent roads and community forums as well as the Community Strategic Plan consultation, Council has shifted its rural road maintenance strategies to closer align with the wishes of rural residents.

The changes will be achieved without the need for additional plant and will allow Council to grade an increased number of roads while also responding faster to pot hole repairs.

To fund the new strategy, Council will reduce its gravel resheeting program by about half while there is also likely to be a slight decrease in wet grading.

“Council has asked the community for feedback and it is important that we listen,” Bland Shire Council General Manager, Ray Smith said.

“The changes represent a shift in Council priorities from long term planning to more immediate maintenance and are reflective of the wishes of the community and in particular our rural residents.”

While the new program delivers on the wishes of the community for increased road maintenance and repairs, Mr Smith warned that Council’s rural road network remains grossly underfunded by Government and will continue to struggle to meet community expectations until there is an overhaul of annual funding models.

“With the second largest road network of any Council in New South Wales, including an enormous and deteriorating rural road network, the Bland Shire faces an impossible battle to maintain our roads to a standard acceptable to the community,” Mr Smith said.

“We continue to lobby Government for a fairer funding model which takes into account the needs and issues faced by rural Councils and in the meantime will keep working hard to ensure ratepayers are given maximum value for their rate dollar.”

Meanwhile, Council continues to wait for urgently needed flood damage roads funding from the State Government.

After freakish flooding left a trail of destruction across the Bland Shire’s road network,

Council submitted a claim to the State Government late last year for funding to carry out urgent flood damage works.

However, works cannot commence until advice is received from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) regarding the outcome of the application. The delay has also held up the adoption of Council’s 2017-2018 roads program.