Anger boils over stockpile

Michael TraillNarrogin Observer

Community backlash has caused the Shire of Cuballing to abandon plans to relocate a road material stockpile in the town’s centre.

The issue became a “wedge of division between the town’s people” after residents became aware the Shire had committed to purchasing a block of land, containing six lots, at 74 Austral Street for $160,000, allegedly without any community consultation.

Cuballing Shire counsellors unanimously rejected the proposal in a vote last Thursday, attended by a full gallery, many counsellors citing the community backlash and a submitted petition as the reasoning for their opposing vote.

The petition was signed by 81 residents from the Shire of Cuballing.

Residents who live on Austral Street, directly across the proposed site, were concerned their property value would decline and their lifestyles would be affected by dust and noise pollution.

Cuballing resident John Robertson organised the petition.

“On asking what the council’s intention with these blocks was, I was told that they could not tell me much because it was confidential,” he said.

“I suggested that for council to purchase these blocks without any consultation with the ratepayers was not transparent and I failed to see what was confidential about committing to spend a large sum of money in secret.”

Shire of Cuballing chief executive defended the handling of the issue, saying residents were informed of the proposal by community newsletters.

“We’ve particularly transparent about the proposed use, we sent out 24 letters to those people who live adjacent to the lot,” he said.

“Most of the signatures on the petition were signed prior to our newsletter going out.”

The lease on the land where the stockpile is, 52 Austral Street, is expected to expire in coming months, prompting the Shire of Cuballing to relocate the stockpile.

An alternative will now be considered by the Shire.

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