Russell Island resident Ann Hagen calls for council to use money freed-up by government grants and funding on island infrastructure

A RUSSELL Island resident believes government grants made available during the coronavirus crisis and federal funding committed to green sealing roads has freed-up money for council to invest in other island projects.

COUNCIL PUSH: Ann Hagen ran for Division 5 councillor at the local government elections in March. She now wants council to improve a road on Russell Island.

COUNCIL PUSH: Ann Hagen ran for Division 5 councillor at the local government elections in March. She now wants council to improve a road on Russell Island.

Ann Hagen, a candidate at the local government elections in March, said Alison Crescent on Russell Island was in dire need of drainage repairs and a new surface due to issues that would arise during rain.

Bowman MP Andrew Laming announced last week that the federal government had given council the green light to access $1.7 million in funding to green seal roads on the bay islands.

It adds to the $500,000 that council applied for last year, but according to Cr Mark Edwards, the funds are yet to me made available.

Ms Hagen said the grants provided a golden opportunity for council money to be used on other vital infrastructure projects.

"If they don't have to dip into the council budget to pay for green sealing to the extent they would have if there was no state or federal money, then that frees up money to do other things," she said.

Cr Mark Edwards said he was not aware of any money being made available as a result of grants and said there was a process behind how funds were allocated to projects.

"All of our capital works are put in a big list for a 10 year forecast and they are ranked on importance," he said.

"These include upgrades to sewage networks and pump stations, and re-sealing all of the main roads.

"Rankings can change during the year as different things arise and we review the budget every quarter, but it is not a case of saying 'you've saved money there, put it over here'."

Ms Hagen said residents had complained about Alison Crescent for five years but no proper roadworks had been completed.

A council spokeswoman said work to clean and reshape drains on the road had been carried out late last year and Cr Edwards confirmed the road had already been sealed.

But Ms Hagen said a downpour in February, when more than 350 millimetres was dumped on the Redlands, had caused the road to flood and loosened surface gravel.

BOGGY: Alison Crescent was a quagmire during a rain event in February, according to Russell Island resident Ann Hagen.

BOGGY: Alison Crescent was a quagmire during a rain event in February, according to Russell Island resident Ann Hagen.

"There is no proper drain and the problem keeps recurring," she said.

"We would like a properly built section of road there at the standard that people have on the mainland rather than a shoddy, quick fix that ultimately does nothing.

"A lot of people park around there, and with more people coming to live on the island, you get more (cars) parking in that area."

The material used to reshape the drains did not stand up well to the February storms, according to a council spokeswoman.

She said council had received 192 requests relating to road conditions on the bay islands since the beginning of 2020, with most coming during and after the rain event earlier this year.

Ms Hagen said she had emailed council to ask for an investigation into Alison Crescent and was told they were looking into the matter remotely.

"They need to take seriously the Alison Crescent bend because it seems to have been put on the back-burner ...," she said.

A council spokeswoman said the number of employees visiting the islands had reduced but inspections were ongoing.

Cr Edwards said officers would likely start repairs at Alison Crescent within the next few weeks.

Since the start of council's green seal project five years ago, $12.3 million has been invested in sealing 45 kilometres of bay island roads.

According to a council report released in February, more than $15 million would be needed to seal the remaining roads.

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