A WHEELCHAIR bound Mornington woman is demanding more accountability from the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council over the slow clean-up of storm-related damage from as far back as last October.
Karen Ford, who lives in a block of units in Prince Street, said residents had been waiting months for help and had trouble getting any “real answers” from the shire, despite six contacts and requests.
“I’ve called many times but nothing happens,” she said.
“Then, after many calls and emails, I had a web chat with someone who said I didn’t provide a phone number from the beginning, only to backtrack when I proved that I did provide a phone number.”
Ford and her neighbours are not the only ones waiting. The shire has acknowledged it is behind in cleaning up the mess left by storms late last year.
In March, infrastructure services manager Tom Haines-Sutherland said contractors hired by the shire were struggling to keep up with demand, and there were still thousands of jobs to do.
But his claim that the shire had “committed every resource we have to the clean-up” has been rejected by an industry insider who said the shire had not allocated extra resources and had an archaic system of logging, inspecting and following through on bookings.
“I think their systems need some scrutiny, people making customer service inquiries get told things will be 10 days, when in reality people have already been waiting five months,” the man who did not want to be publicly identified said.
The insider said the shire had been given an extra workload without throwing extra resources at the problem.
“The council says it is working around the clock and that is blatantly untrue. They originally said it would be finished by March, but a lot of the jobs have not even been logged yet, there is no possible chance to catch up under this level of resourcing,” he said. “The systems at the shire are breaking down and need a total overhaul.”
The shire on Monday said it had dedicated “every suitable resource to the clean-up effort, including additional subcontractors”.
Since October, there had been more than 3500 requests for assistance and all initial requests for help had now been responded to.
The mayor Cr Anthony Marsh said the October storm was “bigger than any of us anticipated” and the clean-up had been complex.”