By Jackson Russell –
Wandong residents are calling for safer streets around entrances to the Mount Disappointment State Forest.
Wandong Heathcote Junction Community Group vice-president Robert Jensen and Member for Euroa Steph Ryan launched a petition on Thursday urging the State Government and Mitchell Shire Council to work together to minimise the environmental destruction caused by dirt bikes and four-wheel-drives around Affleck Street and Dry Creek Road.
The petition, available to sign at Wandong businesses, calls for speed limits to be lowered to 50km/h on Affleck Street and 40km/h on Dry Creek Road near the Say G’Day walking trail.
It also appeals for motorcycle parking to be prohibited along Dry Creek Road, given its proximity to residential properties, and increased police patrols to monitor motorcycle activity on Affleck Street.
Mr Jensen said cars and motorcycles often came out of the state forest doing 100km/h right past his house into residential streets.
“We’ve had to put rocks down on the nature strip because people have deliberately veered off into it and slid into Dry Creek Road,” he said.
“They do donuts, I’ve seen motorbikes doing wheelies up the street, there are riders not wearing helmets.
“I’ve confronted some people and they’ve become very violent and threatening.”
With the area under question bordering a state forest, it comes under the jurisdiction of multiple agencies including VicRoads and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
Ms Ryan said the issue was something she had heard from Wandong residents for at least five years.
“For several years, residents living near the Mt Disappointment State Forest have lobbied both local and state governments to address the ongoing environmental destruction caused by illegal dirt bikes in the area however, no action has been taken to address their concerns,” Ms Ryan said.
“I think we need to break the bureaucratic impasse where the issue keeps being duck-shoved off from one body to another.
“Over the years, I’ve approached DELWP, council, the Minister for Environment on a number of occasions and Victoria Police.
“I think Victoria Police does make an effort to run operations but they can’t be here all the time.”