Towamba Road meeting hears planning underway

Towamba residents have been told that council has started planning work on sealing the Towamba Road and that they can expect to see some activity by April next year.

The news came at a meeting on Sunday, November 3 at Towamba, called by angry residents over the state of the road. There were 110 people at the meeting including the mayor Kristy McBain, deputy mayor Sharon Tapscott, Cr Russell Fitzpatrick and council's director of assets and operations Anthony McMahon.

In January member for Bega Andrew Constance announced funding for the road sealing work but residents frustration boiled over when nothing appeared to be happening.

Resident Sheena Whiter said the road issue had been going on for many years and had a letter of support from former member for Eden-Monaro Gary Nairn recalling that he lobbied on Towamba residents' behalf for them to receive Roads to Recovery money. Mr Nairn was last elected in 2004.

Ms Whiter and husband Fred own Whiter's Butchers in Eden and say they have been badly affected by the state of the road.

"We have to have our delivery van cleaned after every delivery otherwise we would fail to comply with food health standards," Ms Whiter said.

"We are spending more than our yearly rates on cleaning our vehicle." She also said drivers suffered suspension problems, cracked windows.

"It's not just about a dirty road. Some of the elderly have trouble breathing (because of the dust). I have to put the air con on both back and front in my vehicle to stop the dust. Are we asking too much because nothing else gets done out here," Ms Whiter said.

"The Towamba School is affected more than anyone else. They turn over staff because of the wear and tear on vehicles, no freight service will come out, items have to be left in town and delivered by someone and the school doesn't hold sports carnivals because the other schools won't come out as the road isn't considered safe," Ms Whiter said.

She said it wouldn't have reached the point of calling a meeting if there had been better communication from council, something, she said, the mayor accepted.

"Kristy was really good. I feel she was willing to help us, she was on our side and she wants to keep us in the loop. It made it a bit better that she was willing to help," Ms Whiter said.

In an email to Ms Whiter Mr Nairn recalled the matter of Towamba Road.

"The people of Towamba campaigned for their road to be one of those roads (funded by the Roads to Recovery program) and I certainly provided support and lobbied the council on their behalf. Substantial funds (many millions of dollars) went to Bega Valley Council each year under the Roads to Recovery. They were also receiving funds from the federal government under the normal funding criteria which was based on the lengths of roads in the council area, number of bridges, etc," Mr Nain wrote.

"So while I lobbied on Towamba residents' behalf, the actual decision on where those funds were spent was made by the council."

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