December 6, 2013

At the November Murtoa Progress meeting it was reported that: Funding is still being sought to enable the installation of a disabled ramp at the post office; the caravan park dump point unit has arrived and Progress will now organise its installation; V-Line has agreed to the relocation of the bus stop from outside the chemist shop to Marma Street; and the Murtoa Angling Club clubhouse and Uhe track have been officially opened.

Yarriambiack Council is currently inspecting Murtoa properties prior to the forthcoming fire season to check that all landholders have cleaned up their blocks. Fire clean-up notices will be issued where action is required with a 14 day deadline for the work to be undertaken. If this is not done Council will move in and do the job while the owners who failed to act will face a fine of up to $1400.

Progress, which already raised the issue of Murtoa police station building, noted comments by Cr Terry Grange, the issue had been discussed in council. While there have been no positive undertakings at this stage it is hoped that keeping the issue “front of mind” may lead to a speedier resolution.

Cr Grange advised Progress that work is being planned for a footpath upgrade in Lloyd Street. The job will involve work on the kerb and channel and the removal of the trees to enable the work to be done. A report, prepared by Bernie Naylor, was circulated outlining council’s actions on the matter. The report revealed council’s environmental officer has inspected the trees and found some are causing problems with the existing footpath while others are impacting on drainage. Overall, his recommendation, based on limited space to work in and almost certain damage to new infrastructure, was that the trees be removed.

Council wrote to all residents on the west side of Lloyd Street in October nominating the proposed works and advising the removal of the trees and requested concerned residents contact Council. No concerns have been received. Council now plans to write to all residents on the east side of Lloyd Street to ascertain whether they have any objections to the trees being removed and seek comments from Progress regarding the removal of the trees. Cr Grange is keen to get feedback from the community. He was questioned on whether the trees would be replaced when the upgrade was complete and replied that there are no plans to replace the trees. He questioned whether the nature strip would be wide enough.

A suggestion was made that trees and their benefits are critical in Murtoa’s climate and that the option of suitable replacement trees should be seriously considered. At this stage Progress has not taken a position on the issue. Residents concerned with the Lloyd Street streetscape should make their views known to Cr Grange, act on Council’s request for feedback or take the matter up with members of Progress.

Given the pivotal role that Progress plays in the affairs of the town and alerting the shire of the town’s priorities and needs it is essential that the Association adequately represents the wishes and desires of the residents and businesses in the town. Anyone is welcome to join Progress following the payment of the $5 membership. Progress resolved to undertake a membership drive to encourage more of the town’s residents to join and participate in its deliberations. A decision was taken to conduct this drive on the morning of December 7 outside the IGA store.