Residents of Run-O-Waters Estate are expressing their concerns about emergency access into and out of the area.
Bruce Herrett, a resident of the estate at South Goulburn for 17 years, says the current emergency access gates are a “bandaid solution” and “very dangerous.”
“Despite the new emergency access gates at Greendale Court and Carr St, there is still no orderly way in or out of the estate except for Ducks Lane if there is a fire or another emergency and that road could easily become blocked,” Mr Herrett said.
A new gate at Greendale Court Gate has been installed recently to take traffic out onto the Hume Highway, but Mr Herrett said it wasn’t properly prepared.
“There is a fence still behind the gate and there is no paving from Greendale Court to the highway and the area is quite soft and boggy,” he said.
Mr Herrett is seeking answers to a series of questions about the gated roads.
“How long will it take for someone to open the Greendale Court gate? Who will that be and where is the key? Can traffic access the Hume Highway without police to control the highway traffic and also traffic coming out of the estate?”
He has experienced escaping from a fire before in an estate in Sydney.
“People panic when there is a fire. We have experienced this when we were caught in a bushfire at Alberts Point in 1996 when there was only one access road,” he said.
He said a fire fanned by easterly winds came within 100m of his fence about five years ago.
“So in relation to Run-O-Waters – how long does it take for firefighters to get in? How will they get in against the exiting traffic? How do emergency services or council staff communicate with residents in an emergency? Do they open both Carr St and Greendale Court gates?” he asked.
He said the council should do a letterbox drop and explain to residents the emergency evacuation procedure to everyone in the estate and hold emergency exit drills for residents twice a year.
“It is getting very busy out here. Not every block of land is occupied and there is still work to be done. I’d be asking that further development out here stops until they sort this out,” he said.
He also pointed out a series of problems near where Ducks Lane meets the Hume Highway.
“There are a lot of new businesses in between the two roundabouts - Red Rooster and the servo and also the Stockade Brewery is coming,” he said.
“There are also the trucks coming in and out of Coles Myer and a lot of new development is flagged for a block near there. These things all feed traffic into those roundabouts. It is very busy.”
He said despite no parking signs, B-double trucks were also parking on the side of Ducks Lane to go into Red Rooster or Bunnings.
“They are parked on the side of the road - it is only single lane - other trucks move over the double line to pass them - it is an accident waiting to happen,” he said.
Fellow estate resident Roy Barton echoed Mr Herrett’s concerns.
“Overall, it is more dangerous now than what it was before. We never had locked gates that we had to sit at while an emergency was happening and while everyone goes in,” Mr Barton said.
“It is ridiculous, people will panic. It seems to me to be a stupid solution and a cheap one.
“Let’s say there is a grass fire, are we supposed to ring someone to get a key? I looked up at Greendale Court this morning (Thursday) and the lock has been taken off it and it is fastened with a piece of tape. The roadway out of it is deeply rutted and muddy and people will get bogged.”
Mr Barton said if another truck should block access to and from the estate (as happened in June 2016 when a B-double jack-knifed), residents would be required to wait patiently at whichever exit they deemed appropriate.
“So we wait until someone rings for the bloke with the key and for the said bloke to turn up and let us out, hoping we haven't burnt to a crisp in the meantime,” he said.
Meanwhile, a note in the council’s September 5 business paper asks the general manger to report to council “on the option of developing a temporary emergency access link from Pockley Drive to Foord Rd.”
If built, this would take traffic out of the estate onto Gurrundah Rd.