A COMMUNITY reference group has ruled out a short-term truck route through Colac’s residential streets.
Colac Otway Shire Council released a list of 10 possible heavy vehicle routes last month, sparking outrage from residents about sending trucks through residential areas.
The community reference group – comprising 10 Colac and district residents, councillors, transport operators and council staff – met this week and recommended ditching the short-term options through Colac’s residential area.
They recommended five long-term routes for further investigation but the council has withheld the locations.
Mayor Stephen Hart said councillors would discuss the issue at next Wednesday’s council meeting.
Cr Hart said he expected a report about the long-term options to go to the council in June.
“The reference group has further suggested that council should consider mitigation measures to reduce the impact of trucks using Murray Street, such as lowering speed limits, improving pedestrian crossings or extending the 50-kilometre speed zone,” he said.
“At the June meeting, councillors will have an opportunity to consider a report about the five suggested long-term alternative heavy vehicle transport routes, and will consider a motion to release these options for community comment.”
The council had previously identified Wilson and Pollack streets as possible short-term routes.
The community reference group also suggested routes across Lake Colac, north of the lake and south of the lake, going as far south as Forans Road, Barongarook.
Community group Residents for a Liveable Community formed to protest routes that would send trucks into residential streets, collecting about 650 signatures in a petition.
More than 100 residents gathered at the corner of Wilson and Armstrong streets earlier this month to voice their concerns.
RLC spokesman Jim Ryan said he felt uneasy despite the council’s assurances.
“I would still be a bit concerned about what the long-term options are, if any of those would in fact include residential areas,” Mr Ryan said.
“We’ll see what the long-term options are; certainly from the present time it’s great news,” he said.
Wilson Street resident Lucy Washington said the council’s announcement was a “temporary” relief.
“I’ve heard on the grapevine that Wilson Street is still on the long-term,” Mrs Washington said.
“What we need is something more permanent to say none of the residential streets are on the short-term or long-term options,” she said.
“I’d like confirmation any residential street isn’t on the long-term proposal at all.”
Colac Specialist School principal Suzanne Armstrong welcomed the reference group’s decision.
“My opinion is no truck route should be in a residential street,” she said.