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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bogged in their own hole!

Early this week in Drysdale's Ryan Court, City of Greater Geelong contractors and officers had to be rescued from holes of their own making!

The contractors were attempting to mow the site of an 'urban dam' - a two-feet deep, unfenced hole in the ground that was dug in March 2011 to catch storm water from a nearby housing estate. The hole soon filled with rainwater that failed to drain away as promised and that collected chemical foams and oil slicks. In July 2011, pressure from local residents and the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Assciation (DCSCA) led local ward councillor Rod Macdonald and council officers to promise that the dam would be filled-in and the site re-vegetated.

Nine months later, in November 2011, after continuing pressure on the council by residents and DCSCA, the 'urban dam' was filled-in. Residents and DCSCA received new assurances from council officers that the site - now a muddy slick - would be re-vegetated and steps taken to prevent vehicles from entering it.

Once again, nothing happened. Residents and DCSCA called on council officers continually to keep their word. and three months after the dam was filled-in, in late-February 2012, contractors arrived to prepare the site for revegetation. By this time, a thick mat of weeds had grown over the site and this, plus some recent rain, made mowing impossible. Indeed, the contractors became bogged on the site and had to be rescued by another, larger vehicle!

From dam to 'black hole'
The contractors became bogged because council officers became bogged-down around this issue. Having created the 'urban dam', officers then created a bureaucratic 'black hole' into which all the pleas, reminders and requests from Ryan Court residents and DCSCA disappeared, never to be seen again. There is a huge e-mail 'chain' between residents, DCSCA and council officers over this issue. To print it out would require more trees to be felled than are due to be planted on the site! Had the promise made by Cr. Macdonald and relevant council officers in July 2011 been kept, the job could have been completed immediately. Instead, a hole that two days to dig has taken twelve months to restore!

In those twelve months, one Ryan Court resident became a grandmother! Gracie Rose was born in July 2011, so she's now eight months old. A lot has happened to Gracie Rose in her first eight months - indeed, a lot more than has happened to the urban dam at Ryan Court! Council officers' latest assurance to Ryan Court residents is that tree-planting will happen 'next week' (i.e. the week beginning 4 March). Given residents' experience of previous assurances by council officers, Gracie Rose might just see a tree planted on her birthday!

For the full, nine-month story of the Ryan Court 'urban dam', see these earlier postings on this blog:
'Who you gonna call? Dam busters!" (1 August 2011)
'Busting "urban dams"' (17 August 2011)
'How many more sleeps for Gracie Rose?' (13 September 2011)
'Gracie Rose grows up, but urban dam remains unfilled' (11 October 2011)
'Combined celebrations for Gracie Rose! (22 November 2011)

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