Downer Group's road resurfacing prompts petition from Merimbula residents

Another group of ratepayers are angry about the resurfacing work in their local area complaining of wet tar that has been walked into homes and garages and stones that have scratched polished floorboards.

Residents in and around Lakewood Drive, Merimbula have presented a 200 signature petition to Bega Valley Shire Council about the “deplorable” state of resurfacing of their roads and the effect it has had on their homes, cars and garages.

The residents are upset that the work has caused damage to their homes as the tar has not set even several months after the work was completed.

The resurfacing work was carried out by the Downer Group, the same contractors that council employed to carry out the Alice Street and RSL car park resurfacing work. The ensuing furore after the Alice Street work was carried out resulted in council and Downer sharing the cost to resurface the car park.

The work around Lakewood Drive was done at the same time, September 2013, and the issues raised are very similar such as wet tar being walked into homes along with loose stones.

The petition relates to resurfacing works at Lakewood Drive and adjoining courts and Short Point car park. The residents said that sub-standard resurfacing work has resulted in:

* damage to floor surfaces and coverings of residents houses by tar being walked into houses on the soles of shoes.

* damage to residents driveways and floor surfaces caused by  tar-coated aggregate adhering to car tyres and shoes.

* damage to cars caused by aggregate and tar being flicked up by other road users.

* costly mechanical repairs to cars caused by loose aggregate lodging in brake mechanisms and  suspensions.

Geoff Miller, of Salmon Court and John Whittaker, of Trevally Terrace, delivered the petition which has been addressed to the general manager, Leanne Barnes.

Mr Miller said: “The work was done in September and almost immediately we had problems with tar and loose stones. I’m not sure whether the mix was not correct or that it wasn’t laid in the right weather conditions.”

Mr Miller said that residents had contacted council’s roads department over a number of months about the quality of the work but got no satisfaction and so finally decided to get a petition together.

Co-incidentally some residents had a chance on-site meeting with a representative of Downer who was viewing the work on January 13. Mr Miller said that at the chance meeting the contractor suggested that cars with power steering were causing the problems and also said that the tar may take two years to set. Mr Miller said that it was not reasonable or acceptable.

“They won’t acknowledge that there is a problem. But an expert would be able to tell. We’ve got carpet and we’ve taken tar up into the house on our shoes and small stones so anyone with polished boards will have a problem. A lot of people are getting very frustrated about this,” Mr Miller said.

He added that it concerned Lakewood Drive as well as the cul de sacs. “It’s not as bad in Lakewood Drive although it still has wet tar but the cul de sacs are a lot worse. They came out and spread some stones to cover the wet tar but it hasn’t resolved the problem.”

In fact the loose stones were not pressed into the tar and are now evident along driveways, getting caught in car tyres and walked into homes.

“These road surfacing issues are not going to resolve themselves, in fact it is highly likely the problem will be further exacerbated with the onset of higher temperatures during February and March,” Mr Miller said.

The residents want council to resurface Lakewood Drive and the adjoining courts and the Short Point car park with asphalt. The matter is expected to be raised at the council meeting today, Wednesday, January 22.

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