Council faces hard choice

May 04, 2018

The Ford Rd Action Group opposes the proposed route aimed at becoming a key freight connector.

The Ford and Wanganui Rds issue is becoming an increasingly thorny one for Greater Shepparton City Council.

A vocal contingent of residents and concerned locals have been persistent in their opposition to their neighbourhood becoming an east-west freight arterial.

Their passion and enthusiasm in ensuring the council reconsiders the proposed route connecting the Shepparton Alternative Route with a future bypass is to be commended.

The reality is nobody wants to see hundreds of B-double trucks taken out of the Shepparton CBD, only to be routed right past their house.

The council appears to be in a difficult situation.

It has an angry group of residents to listen to in considering which option to choose.

It is positive that alternative options, suggested during consultation process, are being taken seriously by the council.

What seems to be imminent is a scoping out of each of these alternative options to assess the viability of each.

But it is to be noted that the Ford and Wanganui Rds option was selected as the best possible in the initial work undertaken.

This may not bode well for any alternative option eventuating.

In addition, the council’s chief executive officer concedes that other options will likely add considerable time and cost to the project getting off the ground in proper.

There is obviously a positive if it means finding the most ideal and least obtrusive route. But the longer it takes, the longer trucks will continue to use the CBD as the fastest option.

To complicate matters, even if another route is chosen to be upgraded, it is difficult to assess to what level trucks will be any more likely to choose this as the best option.

Ultimately it will be up to councillors to determine which route is selected. It is notable that already a couple of them are opposed to the Ford and Wanganui Rds option being selected.

It will make for an interesting few months as to how the chips fall when councillors consider the routes on the table while keeping the interests of all parties in mind.

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