Roads top Mitchell Shire Council’s issues list

Roads and footpaths made up 40 per cent of the 2065 councillor requests between January 2017 and September 2020, a Mitchell Shire Council report has found.

Mitchell Shire councillors noted a report at the October 19 council meeting that will aim to help new councillors and the chief executive gain a head start on the issues that are most frequently raised by councillors and the community.

Outgoing central ward councillor David Atkinson issued a notice of motion at the September 21 council meeting for council officers to prepare two reports regarding groupings of councillor requests since 2017, one for those submitted by councillors themselves and one for those raised by residents. Groupings include roads, footpaths or drainage issues.

The report found about 40 per cent of the 2065 councillor requests submitted between January 2017 and September 2020 related to roads and footpaths, including maintenance requests, drainage issues, missing links, carparks, and related topics of road safety and signage.

Another 35 per cent related to issues about trees and vegetation including weed control and addressing fuel loads. Common concerns relate to road clearance and roadside issues, new plantings, tree removals, damage and maintenance.

The report listed rubbish-related issues as an emerging issue, particularly the illegal dumping of rubbish, which is reported regularly.

In the past six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, councillor requests relating to tourism and supporting local business has also been a developing theme.

Cr Atkinson said the report showed a well-rounded overall picture of councillor requests submitted by councillors and received from residents.

“This is a bit of a summary and it would be good for our new CEO to understand issues and any incoming councillors,” he said.

“A lot of existing councillors and myself knew roughly how it was going to come out but it does confirm the issues that are coming up.

“As we all know, roads maintenance, footpaths and trees are the big ones. It’s great to see that it confirms the customer survey.”

Then-councillor Bill Chisholm said the report would be interesting for the community to read.

“There is a report supposed to come a bit later on a summation of what residents actually request through the front office and by email and it would be interesting to see the correlation between these two reports,” he said.

“I think it’s one way councillors can really impact on what’s happening in the shire and for me personally, it’s a good indication of what’s happening when you go around and see the response you get and the conditions of the general area.”

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