Albany roads ‘go to pot’

By Chris Thomson | posted on October 20, 2017

POTHOLES have surfaced as an issue in the Albany election, votes for which close on Saturday at 6pm.

Candidate for Frederickstown Ward Graeme McBeath said ratepayer dissatisfaction with the city’s roads, revealed during his ward-wide door-knocking, were reflected in a council report released last week.

The community perception survey commissioned by the City of Albany shows ratepayer satisfaction with the maintenance of sealed roads is at a four-year low, at 41 out of 100.

This compared to a score of 51 in 2015 and 47 in 2013.

“The potholes in roads like Middleton Road, which is the showcase drive to a major tourism asset in Middleton Beach, doesn’t augur that well in terms of demonstrating a community that’s on top of its service obligations to ratepayers,” Mr McBeath said.

Ratepayer satisfaction with the maintenance of unsealed roads was even worse, at 38, down from 45 in 2015 and 42 in 2013.

“One guy I spoke to said Middleton Road was ‘like the bloody Gibb River Road, mate!’,” Mr McBeath recalled.

“A lot of it has been allowed to get down so bad that it is going to require fairly major constructive work.

“Even some of the normal streets are getting to be pretty worn down, and while the city has an audit program, one wonders how roads have managed to decline to such a degree that they will need fairly major resurfacing work.”

Mr McBeath said that would mean more ratepayer money down the drain than if the roads were serviced in a timely way.

“We’ve all gotten used to there being the odd pothole around because it’s very difficult to get a good road-base in Albany,” he said.

“But they’ve slowly, slowly got worse.”

Results for road maintenance were among the worst in the survey.

Overall, Albany scored 83 as a place to live, up from 72 in 2015.

The city administration received a 69 for overall performance, the best result of 11 regional councils surveyed across the state.

Mr McBeath said this showed the city was on the right track.

He added the survey results should be used to help focus the council’s priorities.

Two candidates for Breaksea Ward this week urged a ‘back to basics’ approach for road maintenance.

Tony Demarteau said Golf Links Road was sub par, while his opponent Luke Pilkington said Albany had a “terrible” road network that needed to be fixed “from the ground up”.

The City of Albany was contacted for comment.