Kilmore residents are being invited to have their say on a proposed planning scheme amendment that would help facilitate Stage 1 of the Kilmore Bypass project.
The amendment, which will allow for the development of a bypass road to the west of the Kilmore township and reserve land to be acquired for the bypass road, suggests some progress is finally being made after lengthy delays and a lack of transparency from the Labor Government.
Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland, who has been actively campaigning for progress on the Kilmore Bypass since stepping into the role, says this process should have happened years ago.
“Despite the project being well on the way in 2014, the past nine years have been plagued by delay after delay on the bypass, with just two blocks of land acquired in that time,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Last year’s budget saw the expected completion of land acquisition blow out by another year, with the previous minister using the excuse of ‘planning work’ for this lengthy delay.
“Now we are back to community consultation, and while it is great for local stakeholders to have their say on the matter, many have already done so multiple times over the past eight years.
“Quite frankly the Kilmore community is sick of the excuses. How can the West Gate Tunnel, a project expected to cost well over $10 billion, take just two years to plan while a simple yet essential piece of regional infrastructure takes eight years to buy just two plots of land?”
In a June Question on Notice directed to the Minister for Roads and Road Safety Melissa Horne, Ms Cleeland asked for clarity about when work will begin on the Kilmore Bypass.
The response from the Minister, which took 99 days, was another non-answer, saying “there are currently no plans for construction”.
With so much growth in the region, trucks constantly roaring down Sydney Road and congestion unimaginable for a country town, Kilmore residents are fatigued and many had all but given up on progress under this government.
“There has been genuine distrust within the community that this Labor government is capable of delivering the Kilmore bypass,” Ms Cleeland said.
“I am looking forward to members of our community being able to express how important this project is to them in this new round of consultation.
“Due to the heavy traffic, the town centre smells of exhaust fumes, buildings are crumbling, shops are for lease and the local economy has been strangled by the traffic flow.
“Rightly so, there is genuine concern in the community for pedestrian safety, with trucks in town on a narrow main road that is unfit for purpose and unsafe for our community.
“The failure to progress this project was not anything to do with complex planning requirements or an onerous land acquisition process; this bypass has not been built purely because of a lack of government willpower.”
Submissions from the community can made at Kilmore Bypass Stage 1 Project Planning Controls | Engage Victoria until 5pm on Tuesday, 28 November.