Road block

Thursday, 23rd May, 2013

By Erica Visser

Public concern has seen City Council delay a decision to allow a bypass road to be built through a section of the city’s common for the Silverton Windfarm project.

At a meeting last night, Council was to decide whether to let power company AGL build the road across 1.4 kilometres of the Willyama Common to join up with the Silverton Road, past Horsington Drive.

Instead, Councillor Peter Black successfully moved that Council consult further with the company before granting it access.

The company said that its access to the track would reduce heavy vehicles on the city roads during construction of the windfarm, which is scheduled to begin in March.

“I’m very mindful of the consequences of inserting a road through our common,” Clr Black said.

“I’m also mindful of the concurrent acquiescence agreeing the use of the Silverton Road.

“The road is not a road we considered for use by heavy vehicles.”

Clr Black said that there was an alternative route that ran around the common, near the railway line and Eldee Station.

“I cannot see for the life of me why AGL does not pursue upgrading of the existing track near the railway,” he said.

“It seems to me that there hasn’t been a great deal of honesty with AGL on why they would not choose, in my opinion, the logical alternative.”

A member of the public gallery, Larry Angell, told councillors of his concerns over the environmental impact on vegetation and wildlife the track may cause.

The proposed road is subject to the approval by the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), which has not yet been granted.

AGL planned to upgrade the track to a usable condition, but it would remain unsealed.

The company said it would take measures to manage the dust that would come as a result.

Councillor Bob Algate said that he had heard from Silverton residents who were concerned about where the vehicles would turn onto Silverton Road.

“I’ve been approached by two residents living in the Silverton area who said that the access might not be the ideal situation,” he said.

“There needs to be, if it progresses, a different location than that currently shown.”

Deputy Mayor Darriea Turley, who seconded Clr Black’s motion, said that Council still needed to take part in further consultation to determine whether the plan was the “best option”.

“There’s concern from the community at Silverton about the potential blind spot and whether the heavy vehicles are going to disrupt the road,” Clr Turley said.

Mayor Cuy said after the meeting that the “motion had merit”.

“It was passed tonight that we go back and seek some clarification from AGL about the plan.”

Mayor Cuy was unable to say whether the delay would impact on AGL’s plans to get the project rolling in early 2014.

If Council decides to allow AGL the use of the track, it would become a private road on a five year licence.

It is expected that the company would pay a fee of approximately $3000 per year for use of the land.