Residents along the Wombeyan Caves Road are living in “Groundhog Day”.
It’s a “completely unacceptable environment for our community” said spokesman for the community, Rohan Berry.
A downfall in tourism numbers through the popular tourist attraction, Wombeyan Caves, is being blamed on the road.
It’s also an issue that has impacted the lives of residents along the road for more than a decade.
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School buses won’t drive all the way up to housing areas, the NRMA limits what call-outs they will attend along the road, all but one of the water carriers refuses to make deliveries in the area and none of the companies that provides large gas bottles or refills will use the road.
Resident are also excluded from any form of garbage service.
The community wants a safe and fit-for-purpose road not just for themselves but for tourists.
This the message driven home by Mr Berry at a community meeting held in the Bullio Woolshed on December 1 to address concerns about the road.
Mr Berry said in a power-point presentation to the audience of more than 40 people that there was an estimated 30 - 40,000 vehicle movements along the Wombeyan Caves Road each year.
Mr Berry gave a detailed proposed plan to Wingecarribee Shire Council staff and councillors, who attended the meeting, on how they could help the situation.
He reference information he had received from council that it was given $980,000 per year by the state government to support 10 regional roads. Wombeyan Caves Road and it’s dirt section fall under this category.
Mr Berry said $220,000 of that funding was spent each year maintaining the Caves Road with a target of one to two grades and some general maintenance on the section to the river and less than that through to the caves.
“However in the last year there hasn’t been a single full grade completed,” he said.
Mr Berry estimated that about $500,000 would be needed to keep the dirt section to the river in “good condition” which signalled a $280,000 between funds allocated and funds needed.
“$650,000 was spent as capital improvements on the paved section of the road in the last year, but nothing was spent on the dirt section of the road,” he said.
“Sealing the road is estimated to cost $20-$30 million.
“We need transparency in a plan from council.”
Wingecarribee councillor, Ian Scandrett said, “in a perfect world the road would be fixed in one hit, but in reality, maybe it will take five shots to fix the road.”
“I feel the locals here are living in Groundhog Day and we’ll be here again next year discussing the same thing,” he said.
“Money is being spent in the east but not here, what’s needed is an all-weather safe road. It may take a long time to get, but it’s what you need.”
Mr Berry ended with, “everyone seems to be pointing at each other for the dollars but no one wants to pull out the wallet.”