Pothole vigilantes take road repairs into their own hands
POTHOLES. The issue that never goes away in Byron Shire.
Nothing infuriates locals more than potholes. There's a Facebook site, Potholes of the Byron Shire where people can upload comments and videos about their pothole travails.
There is even a song written about the Shire's Potholes.
At regular intervals Byron residents are wont to take road repairs into their own hands.
Tired of waiting for their favourite pothole to make it to the top of Council's Pothole Top Ten for Repairs or 'Top of the Pots', these pothole vigilantes arm themselves with bags of cement and road base and fill the potholes themselves.
They are following in the footsteps of the legendary Terry Wrist, a north coast legend who first began decorating the Shire's many potholes, both as a warning to drivers and as a way of embarrassing councils into action.
The numbers are stark.
Byron Shire has just 15,600 rateable properties from which to fund the infrastructure to support our 31,500 residents and more than two million people who visit the shire each year.
When you do the math on that equation the answer always equals potholes.
It doesn't help that many of our roads were not constructed correctly in the first place.
Recent figures from the NSW Your Council website confirm that Byron Shire Council spends $521 per capita on the 605km of roads council is responsible for.
This is slightly less than Ballina Council and slightly more than Lismore council spends per capita.
Byron Shire Council's director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway, has confirmed to the Byron Shire News that some roads around the shire were not constructed correctly when they were first laid down during the last century resulting in the surfaces crumbling easily.
Mr Holloway said council's special rates variation was being put to good use with $2.125 million going towards road reconstruction and re-seals this financial year with $600,000 of that going to gravel re-sheeting and heavy patching.
He said council was also working to secure money from the $25 million promised by the National Party as a Tourism Impact Fund for Byron Shire during the last state election
But despite all that, there is still nothing quite so shocking as hitting one of Byron's mega potholes.
And given the shire's ongoing budgetry pressures, potholes may be a permanent feature of our lives, so perhaps we should celebrate them.