A PUSH from Parliament to upgrade Nornalup and Tindale roads from Rocky Gully south to Bow Bridge has received a lukewarm to nil response from Plantagenet and Denmark shires to questions from The Voice of the South.
In the Legislative Council, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party Member for Agricultural Region Rick Mazza asked the Government who was responsible for maintaining the road.
“I refer to Nornalup Road between Rocky Gully and Bow Bridge, which is a popular and picturesque shortcut that reduces the driving time to Denmark by 50 minutes,” he said.
“Is the Minister aware that severe degradation of the road surface has resulted in making it almost impassable?
“What is the expected timeframe to return this road to a reasonable and safe condition?”
On behalf of Transport Minister Rita Saffioti, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said any upgrade was a matter for the two shires.
Later, from Mount Barker, Plantagenet Shire President Chris Pavlovich said that was not the case.
“The Plantagenet [section of] road finishes at the State Crown land, and then the Denmark [section of] road takes on after that,” he explained.
“So, Plantagenet Shire, and I would say Denmark, … does not own the road all the way through.
“Where Plantagenet has a constructed road, it maintains it and grades it under its normal five-year road program.”
Cr Pavlovich said lots of farmers used the road as a short cut down to their fishing shacks at Peaceful Bay or Parry Beach.
“They’re using this non-constructed, or less-constructed, road – which to be honest, I think is a fire access, not a gazetted, road,” he said of the State-owned mid-section.
He said Nornalup Road was a shire one for 13kms south of Muir Highway where it entered national park and became a State responsibility.
Cr Pavlovich said even if cash were available to upgrade the middle section, the benefits were questionable.
“My opinion is that if that road was made into a really good, trafficable route, it wouldn’t serve a purpose for industry because there’s no livestock or fertiliser that would [be transported] via that route, but it might attract tourists who instead of going through Mt Barker and Denmark might take a slight shortcut and bypass those towns and take away some economic development,” he said.
Mr Mazza once owned a farm at Rocky Gully, and said he had used the road several times.
“It cut a lot of time off, rather than go all the way around almost to Mt Barker, then across and along,” he argued.
“I had a guy ring me a couple of weeks ago who was using the road to get from Peaceful Bay up into Rocky Gully and across to Lake Muir.
“And he said: ‘Mate, look that road is pretty much impassable; I’ve got a good four-wheel-drive but both Denmark and Plantagenet shires are refusing to do anything about it.”
He said he then rang his former neighbour who told the same story.
“We should have roads that we can use, particularly if they’re fairly popular,” Mr Mazza said.
The Shire of Denmark was contacted for comment.