'A disgrace': Tensions rise over needed road repairs
THE school bus run connecting Boyne Valley students with Monto State High School is back this week despite contractors refusing to drive an unsealed section of the route.
Tension is rising between the local community and government departments who are at odds over whether the state-owned road needs urgent repairs.
A public meeting was held last night where community members were expected to lobby State Government representatives to have the road sealed.
Last week bus contractors Peter and Kaye Wilson told parents they would no longer drive a 20km section of the route between Many Peaks and Kalpowar that they deemed "unsafe” and "hazardous”.
Services were to stop this week, however, the Department of Transport and Main Roads began maintenance grading on Tuesday south of Many Peaks.
This was in response to a May 2 road inspection that found "some isolated sections of potholing due to recent rainfall”.
A roads spokesperson said last week they were "working with the (bus route) operator to assess the road's condition and return school bus services to normal as quickly as possible”.
They confirmed "the bus run operated as normal” on Tuesday.
In a letter sent to parents and posted to Facebook by public meeting organiser Mark McLachlan, Peter and Kaye Wilson said they would continue the run.
"In regards to us refusing to do the bus run from Builyan to Kalpowar until the road was brought up to a safe and acceptable standard, we have been informed that TMR inspectors have inspected the road and deemed it to be of a safe standard,” it read.
"Our employers, Translink regional office have been informed of the decision of the road condition... so we have been advised to drive the road to the 'prevailing conditions'.
"We do not wish to accrue demerit penalties by breaching our contract, therefore, we will be running the bus tomorrow as usual.”
The email goes on to say the pair is "optimistic” a suitable outcome will be reached.
Translink was contacted but did not respond to requests for information by deadline.
With the road being a State Government responsibility, Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett said he had also contacted the Minister for Transport Mark Bailey and the roads department regional director.
The mayor raised concerns about the road after travelling to the Boyne Valley Country Music Campout, labelling it "a disgrace”.
"I said to the minister you have to look at the truck movements on that road, particularly the gravel section,” Cr Burnett said.
"It's up to them to fix it but I would assume if they've done a grade on it and they say it meets main roads standard then I would hope that that's the case.”
Member for Callide Colin Boyce was contacted by The Observer but did not provide comment.