Footpath scheme cracks up


MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire’s footpath construction scheme is in disarray, with 13 projects being deferred and two others awaiting appeals.

An emphatic rejection of the shire’s footpath construction plans by ratepayers has led to money being reallocated to fix footpaths at Hastings, Somerville and Bittern.

The highest support recorded in a survey of property owners due to be billed for part of nine footpath schemes was just 28 per cent.

In one case, the shire’s plan to build a footpath was rejected by 100 per cent of property owners.

The rejection of the nine schemes has seen the team behind the shire’s footpath construction scheme recommend that $404,000 from the budget be used to fix footpaths rather than go towards the shared payment schemes.

Schemes at Somers and Sorrento already adopted by council are being held up by property owners who have lodged objections with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

The footpaths that will benefit from the unexpected $404,000 “surplus” are at Babington Park, Hastings ($100,000); Stony Point Rd, Bittern ($110,000); and Frankston-Flinders Rd, Somerville ($194,000).

The footpath team, in a report to council’s 14 June meeting, said the survey to gauge support for new paths was part of the shire’s “commitment to improve the consultation with property owners”.

The footpath schemes rejected by property owners in the survey are for Booran Pde, Tootgarook (85.7% against); Braidwood Av/Brendle St, Rosebud West (89.6%  against); Eliza Drive, Mt Eliza (87.1% against); Harrap Rd, Mt Martha (72% against); Hove Rd, Rosebud (88.9% against); Leon Av, Rosebud (97% against); Orana Drive/Kinross St, Mt Martha (100 against); Sudholz St, Bittern (94% against); and Wimbledon Av/Wimborne Av, Mt Eiza (87.8% against).

Property owners objecting to the Somers footpath scheme claim to not have been properly surveyed about their views by the shire.

The rejection of footpath schemes has led to the shire taking another look at the shared payment scheme it adopted in 2011.

“Based on results of the survey, it is proposed that the instigation phase footpath special charge schemes projects in their current form, be deferred and reassessed for consideration following a review of the shire’s Footpath Construction Strategy and Contribution Schemes Policy,” the report to council from infrastructure planning team leader Chris Munro and infrastructure strategy manager Davey Smith stated.

“As part of the shire’s commitment to improve the consultation with property owners, officers recently undertook a survey of each scheme currently at the instigation phase. The survey aimed to gauge property owners’ support for a proposed scheme, prior to council considering the progression to the intention to declare phase.

“The survey was simplistic in nature, requesting property owners’ views on a proposed shared cost footpath scheme to be constructed in their street.”

The survey showed that a majority of property owners rejected the shared footpath schemes in all of the nine proposed projects.

First published in the Western Port News – 16 August 2016


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