Mark McLachlan was the convenor of a public meeting including councillors Peter Masters and Rick Hansen, and federal member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.
Mark McLachlan was the convenor of a public meeting including councillors Peter Masters and Rick Hansen, and federal member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd. Contributed

'Angry' residents respond to TMR findings at meeting

UPSET and angry Boyne Valley residents have rejected findings from the Department of Transport and Main Roads that a 20km unsealed stretch of Gladstone Monto Rd is safe for school travel.

At a public meeting at Builyan on Wednesday night residents met to discuss the future of the road, which school bus contractors say is "unsafe" and "too hazardous" for travel.

The school bus travelled its full route this week after the department deemed the road safe following a May 2 inspection, which found "some isolated sections of potholing due to recent rainfall".

Maintenance grading has been carried out as a result of the findings.

However, locals have thrown their unanimous support behind the bus drivers in one of three motions passed.

Meeting convenor Mark McLachlan said residents attending the meeting were angered by the department's response.

"Absolutely the crowd rejects the findings from TMR," Mr McLachlan said.

"There was general disbelief at that meeting with that information.

"If they just said 'look we've stuffed up' it would've calmed things down no end but to put that over was no good.

"TMR does a survey of the road and says it has minor potholes.

 

HAZARDOUS: The section of Monto-Gladstone Road from Kalpowar to the range will hopefully soon be sealed.
HAZARDOUS: The section of Monto-Gladstone Road from Kalpowar to the range will hopefully soon be sealed. Jack Lawrie

"Translink takes that information and say 'we've been told it's safe' and tell the bus contractor they should be doing the run.

"But that's been thrown back in their face by parents refusing to send their kids."

A department statement said it would "continue to undertake regular inspections to ensure the road remains in a safe condition".

A second motion passed at the meeting asked Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett and North Burnett Mayor Rachel Chambers to take joint action to lobby state ministers to "bring the road to an adequate safety standard" and implement an "acceptable" maintenance program.

The third motion called for the Federal Member for Flynn to implement a long-term plan for the road including a funding agreement process and bitumen surfacing.

State Member for Callide Colin Boyce has written a letter to Transport Minister Mark Bailey in support of constituents.

Mr Boyce was unable to attend Wednesday night's meeting but blamed a shortfall in the government's road budget for a lack of action.

"Main roads have got to understand that particular section of road needs more budget money to maintain and grade it and do potholes to bring it to a necessary standard," Mr Boyce said.