Wellington Shire Council is seeking feedback from members of the Port Albert community to capture their views on street and drain improvement works through a special charge scheme.
In 2014, Council adopted the Residential Road and Street Construction Plan. The Plan provides a framework for road upgrade projects across all townships within the Shire.
A model within the Plan outlines how projects will be funded, including both contributions from Council and contributions from benefitting property owners. This joint contribution is administered through a special charge scheme. The Plan outlines that progression of these projects is only on the basis of more than 70% support from those involved.
Street Upgrade Opportunity
The current opportunity for the township of Port Albert includes upgrading streets and the network of roadside swale drains. Specifically, these works would include:
- Design and construct sealed streets at a width of 6m.
- Design and construct roadside swale drains enabling improved drainage.
- Design would be complimentary to any future outfall improvement works.
- Sections of kerb and channel to define intersections – discharge into open drains.
- New driveway access crossings with pipes at correct grades.
- Walking paths between key destinations (excluded from scheme, funded by Council).
This opportunity is similar in approach to projects undertaken by Council in Golden Beach and Briagolong, both received very well by residents.
Street Upgrade Costs
The value of these works across the whole Port Albert township is estimated to cost $2.1M, however this is subject to change following planning survey and detailed design works.
Council would make a contribution towards costs based on the funding framework within the Residential Road and Street Construction Plan. Council would also fund 100% of costs apportioned to Crown land, Council property or other non-rateable property.
Based on initial estimates and the funding framework within the Residential Road and Street Construction Plan, approximately $840k would be met by Council with $1.26M apportioned to property owners (including Council for Council owned property and Crown land).
The estimates result in an approximate special charge scheme levy of $5,000 per property. This is an average amount that will vary between properties depending on apportionment methodology. Common apportionment considerations include an access benefit, length of road abuttal, allotment area or a combination of these factors.
A 10-year quarterly repayment option would be made available to all participants incorporating an interest rate equal to Councils borrowing rate. Based on a levy of $5,000 and interest rate of 5%, repayments would be approximately $160 per quarter.
It would be proposed to pursue works within 3 or 4 discrete project areas across the Port Albert township, based on road and drainage function and level of support from property owners.
Tidal Protection and Drainage Outfall
The street upgrade proposal will improve the function of open drains within the township, however not directly address flooding caused by tidal influence.
Wellington Shire Council recently commissioned an environmental feasibility study considering potential works consistent with those recommended in a 2006 report produced by SMEC. This assessment has been undertaken by Ethos NRM, with the report available on the link below.
Council will continue to research further opportunities for improved tidal protection and stormwater outfall treatments for coastal communities, including alternate options to the 2006 SMEC report recommendation for Port Albert.
Initially, a survey will be sent to all property owners within the project area. The purpose of this survey will be to gather the communities level of interest to pursue a street upgrade project and is completely non-binding. This survey will be sent out by the end of March 2018.
If a high degree of support is demonstrated, Council staff will undertake survey and design work prior to further engagement with the community. This engagement would include each property owner being provided with a property specific cost estimate and further opportunity to indicate whether they want to proceed with the proposal.
The formal stages of a special charge scheme would only be pursued if this further engagement resulted in greater than 70% support for a project.