By Jackson Russell
A lower speed limit through Hidden Valley will be considered as part of the next two Mitchell Shire Council budget processes, but residents say action needs to be taken immediately.
Council passed a notice of motion at the November 2018 meeting to review the speed zones within Hidden Valley, the results of the review recommended a reduction from 60km/h to 50km/h through parts of Hidden Valley Boulevard and Valley Drive.
At last week’s council meeting, council officers recommended the roads be placed on the Speed Advisory Trailer program to educate motorists and to assess changes in driver behaviour before considering future changes to traffic management.
South ward councillor David Lowe moved an alternate motion to consider independently recommended speed limit changes.
Cr Lowe said residents weren’t driving in an unsafe manner, but hoons and tradesmen were driving unsafely.
“There is considerable evidence of hoon behaviour with tyre skid marks and damage to the roadside reserves,” he said.
“Tradesmen are paying scant regard for the residents, either human or animal, and with the development of the retirement village, they will be with us for years to come.
“It really is not the residents who are behaving badly but it is the residents who are suffering from their bad behaviour.”
The alternate motion was passed with two councillors voting against it, Annie Goble and Fiona Stevens.
Cr Stevens said the report also indicated there were several alternative approaches before council considers speed limit changes for the budget.
“It’s a bit premature at this stage to set money aside in the budget. We have a responsibility to look at all our options,” she said.
Hidden Valley Association vice-president Colin Weir has worked in aviation for more than 40 years and is currently the chief executive of Flight Safety, which conducts safety audits for numerous businesses and government organisations.
Mr Weir said when he applied his experience dealing with risk assessment to Hidden Valley, he had no doubt it will end in a fatal accident.
“People walk throughout the day to get exercise on the side of the roads. There’s no footpath so they have to walk on the edge of the road and they’re always coming back and saying a car just missed them,” he said.
“These children get dropped off, they don’t want to walk on the grass, especially if it’s wet so they walk in the gutter and they’re on their phones with the cars coming up behind them.
“Up at the bus stop where you’ve got these children crossing the road and you’ve got this risk of them being hit and speed is a critical factor.
“If you add up all these ingredients, it’s unacceptable and it’s got to be managed immediately otherwise there’s going to be an accident.”