A LAST-DITCH compromise has stopped Colac Otway Shire Council from abandoning plans for an alternate Colac truck route.
Colac Otway Shire councillors were divided on which of five truck route options – north of Lake Colac, across the lake, along the railway line, inner south and outer south – should go out for public feedback.
Councillors tried and failed to agree on five proposals before deciding on three routes at their monthly meeting: north of the lake, across the lake and outer south, which would send trucks as far south as the intersection of Irrewillipe and Skinners roads.
Cr Frank Buchanan wanted the council’s consultants to investigate only the option north of the lake, but the proposal split the council 3-3 and mayor Stephen Hart used his casting vote to defeat the idea.
Cr Chris Smith tried twice to convince fellow councillors to postpone the plans until after October’s council election, but failed to gain support.
Cr Lyn Russell’s proposal to proceed with all options except the inner south and rail reserve also lacked support.
Cr Geoff Higgins wanted to delete the inner southern route and add Dennis and Murray streets to the list, but his idea failed because it conflicted with a previous council decision to rule out residential areas.
A crowd of onlookers attended Wednesday’s meeting at Birregurra to hear the truck route discussions.
The crowd left when the council abandoned the talks to address other issues and there were only two people left when discussion resumed about 7pm.
Consultants will develop road corridors for each route before seeking community feedback after October’s election.
Cr Hart said residents would have faced uncertainty for “many months” if the council hadn’t made a decision.
“This way after the council election, the council will have information well progressed on these three particular routes,” he said.
“And importantly, any talk of the routes going in suburban areas, whether it’s residential areas, is ruled out.”
Cr Buchanan said he voted for the three-route option so ratepayers’ dollars wouldn’t have gone to waste.
“But I’m against the lake one, 100 per cent,” he said.
“Any major change in the use of the lake needs to be put to the people of Colac.”