MOUNT Worth ward councillor Peter Kostos has called on council staff to provide a report outlining options for a sound attenuation walls and barriers policy.
This article was first published in the 11 July 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
Speaking to his motion calling for the report to be produced, which was supported unanimously by councillors at a council meeting earlier this month, Cr Kostos said he hoped such a policy would help avoid “ugly” sound barriers being erected along the Princes Freeway.
“My personal take on this stems from a long time ago seeing these sound attenuation walls going up along the Monash Freeway,” Cr Kostos said.
“They are ugly and get uglier as they weather, though the ones [you see locally] are a little better looking.
“But more recently at the new subdivision in Trafalgar, a new wall was put up.
“It [was] a condition [from] VicRoads, council can’t say no.
“We don’t want it, but what I want to see is some kind of policy where we can present to developers options that are more beautiful and less intrusive, because anyone driving either to or from East Gippsland comes past Trafalgar, [which has] the beautiful Strzleckis to the south and what do they see? The sound wall.
“It’s not a particularly ugly one… but we need to work on making them less visually [obtrusive].”
North ward councillor David Balfour said the construction of sound barriers should be discussed while planning developments, not after.
“What we’ve got to do here is make the community aware that these planning (decisions) could be happening right now and we need to be discussing them,” Cr Balfour said.
Speaking in support of the motion mayor Murray Cook said the barriers had a negative impact on smaller towns which sell themselves based on their rural appeal.
“Having been in Trafalgar quite a long time I keep hearing our residents saying they want to maintain and protect the rural aspect of our town,” Cr Cook said.
“VicRoads are a big player in this, but they also have other levers they can pull [to change how freeway and highway sound is managed], like speed restrictions and the road surface.
“These days you can get a number of different road surfaces that reflect the noise differently.”
“For the developers, yes, the set back from the road is another aspect to consider.
“There are a number of things we can do to protect our residents from something that is necessary (noise management)… but maybe the sound walls we see at present aren’t the answer.”
Despite seconding the motion, Drouin ward councillor Terry Williamson was pessimistic about how useful the report might be.
“We are asking for a report, and most of the time it’s VicRoads who makes the decisions, not us,” Cr Williamson said.
“That means the report will probably just say that.”
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