February 19th, 2023Kyle’s Rant
IF YOU are sick of people bagging the Hepburn Shire Council then it’s
time for you to turn the page. For the rest of you I have a tale to tell that
will have you saying “that would be right” under a slow, shallow exhale.
A couple of years back while in the office at TL HQ I noticed a deep thudding
reverberating through the floorboards in the office. Now at my age that could be any
number of medical issues rearing their heads for the first time. So after a quick self-
check I concluded the thudding was coming from outside the office.
It turns out that the gang from the HSC roadworks department had put their
heads together, for whatever reason, and decided “bugger the potholes, we will create
a 100-metre bitumen track right outside TL HQ”.
This was an unrequested item. The, what I call a roadlet, covers the driveways
of three houses and I think the gravel road was better because it is a deterrent to
any tourist wandering around in awe of the fresh air and tall trees. They need to be
corralled into the shops and pubs where they do their best, spending money in our
But back to the roadlet. It was being created by a giant whacker-packer (WP),
and while that may not be its official term, it was the source of the thudding and
vibrating. Having a double-brick house, built in 1861 well before the WP was
invented, I immediately turned my attention to the cracks which were appearing
in the walls. I quickly ran out on the road and effectively shut the job down to the
disappointment of the WP driver, who proclaimed he only had one more run to do
to complete the road.
So, we are left with a piece of tarmac that goes nowhere in particular and, because
I didn’t take photos of my house before the incident, HSC will not admit liability and
the repair bill will be around the 12K mark when completed.
This sort of behaviour seems to be repeated with works around the shire with not
much thought put into the “whole of life” of a project. That is, how we will maintain
a project, why are we doing a project and what value does it give the ratepayer.
I know I sound like a curmudgeon banging on about those in their ivory tower,
however another case in point is this giant rainbow. For God’s sake, who decided that
we were going to buddy up with a giant corporation whose entire ethos consists of
“swipe right” to like, or “swipe left” to dislike.
I was never asked if I thought a big rainbow was the best representation of
our community. This place is a lot of things including an already diverse, inclusive
community. We also have a lot of history in gold and more recently have become
known for being a romantic getaway location.
But here we are lumbered with the huge hunk of coloured plywood, so let’s make
the best of it, but no, we have to stick it in a location where apart from the visiting
netball and football teams only the locals will see it.
Yes, it is a fabulous thing to show off on the one ChillOut day where it will be
Instagrammed into the viral-sphere, but by and large it will sit, lonely, visited by the
odd dog walker or ping-pong player who happens to be wandering by.
And this is exactly the sort of shortsightedness I am talking about. Where is the
signage to say where it is, what about the lighting to protect it from vandals at night
and who will look after it and at what cost? Curmudgeonly rant over…
Ed’s note: A council spokesperson said the sections of road were constructed as part of
the 2020/21 Road Upgrade Program which prioritised sections based on factors such
as traffic volumes, safety, amenity, road functionality and connectivity between main
roads and local access roads. Who knew our road was so important?