LANDOWNERS along the proposed Kilmore bypass were unaware the route was finalised until it was published in the Review last month, following no Department of Transport and Planning, DTP, correspondence since July.
The amended route on the front page of the Review’s August 22 edition showed the preferred alignment for the bypass – after travelling around the west of Kilmore, the route will now rejoin the Northern Highway just north of Willomavin Road, steering clear of Kilmore Wastewater Management Facility.
A Willowmavin Road landowner, who did not want his name published, said he had received a letter in July stating two alternatives were being considered with the project ‘apparently placed on hold’.
“Any problems said to them going back years has just fallen on deaf ears and they don’t listen to landowners. They’ve got their own set procedures,” he said.
“I made suggestions when they had private consultants at St Patricks in Kilmore … I made a suggestion this bypass should have a north-south route.
“They’ve stuffed everything up and I think the proposal is the most stupidest idea I could think of.”
The landowner said he believed $3 million set aside for a land acquisition fund was ‘insufficient’.
“I think for this particular project the land acquisition should be around $60 million,” he said.
“They have got everything up the creek.”
However it is not yet clear how much the land acquisition fund will be, with a department spokesperson saying the ‘funds necessary for future land acquisition will be determined as the project progresses’.
Another landowner, who also did not want her name published, said she ‘totally disagreed’ with the route.
“The bypass does not need to happen. What needs to happen is we just need to reroute trucks – just the heavy vehicles, not all the cars,” she said.
“We need the local traffic. We need tourist traffic for all the shops in town to sustain their businesses.
“You have to look at the big picture – what is causing the problem? Those big trucks are the big problem, not all the cars.”
She also said the DTP would not cover the cost of fencing on properties affected by the bypass and would not be providing fencing along the route.
“They were not going to put fencing up, only mounds of dirt and maybe bushes or trees. To me that’s not good enough,” she said.
“I want my fencing back up and I want better sound-proof fencing.
“I’ve got children [and] I’ve got animals. What if they run out onto the road? What are [DTP] going to do?”
The landowner also hadn’t had any correspondence with DTP since July.
“They don’t speak with you. They just send letters now so you can only speak to them if you initiate a phone call,” she said.
“I’ve had no correspondence since July. I rang them and questioned them again about the mounds and everything and the [representative] went really quiet and I said ‘since you’re not going to tell me, it’s going to be a cold day on Earth before you get my property’.”
The landowner also agreed that the land acquisition fund was insufficient.
“When I asked how much I would get for my property they said ‘sorry we can’t offer you any more for your land because there is no money to be had’,” she said.
Department of Transport and Planning Hume acting regional director Emma Bamford said stakeholders had been notified of the decision.
“We appreciate the community’s feedback and patience as planning for the Kilmore Bypass project progresses forward,” she said.
“The Department of Transport and Planning has advised stakeholders of the decision to nominate Option B for the northern alignment of the Kilmore bypass, including those whose property may be impacted by the chosen route.”
There is no funding for construction of the bypass with no start or completion dates set.
A business case seeking construction funding will commence once the Public Acquisition Overlay has been implemented into the Mitchell Planning Scheme.
The Review asked whether the DTP would cover costs associated with landowners fencing their properties, among other expenses.
A DTP spokesperson said construction funding would allow for all associated infrastructure located within the Public Acquisition Overlay boundaries, including noise mitigation measures identified within the Environment Management Framework for the project.
A DTP spokesperson said land acquisition for the project would commence once construction funding was obtained but did not address whether the budget for land acquisition was sufficient.
“The Department of Transport and Planning will undertake land acquisition and compensation discussions with directly impacted landowners as per the legislative process outlined within the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986,” a DTP spokesperson said.
“This discussion will include the potential impacts on the use of the land effects statement for a bypass of Kilmore and Wallan.”
The DTP spokesperson said an EES assessment was conducted covering the physical, environmental, heritage, cultural, social and economics of a bypass in a comprehensive report, which included community submissions on the investigation.