I have been asked by many people what went wrong with Culvert Street and why one way. So here is my take on it.
Culvert Street is but one component of a multi-million dollar project to upgrade the Glen Osmond creek. This project is indeed a precursor to an even bigger project and that is the upgrading of the Brownhill Creek/Keswick creek stormwater system.
Council were diligently preparing the scope and specifications of this project with a view to commencing the project in the next financial year and taking three years to complete it.
There was still much work to do in the design phase when an opportunity was presented to council for grant funding from the commonwealth with similar conditions on it as have many other projects around the country we are all aware of that have suffered similarly . At the heart of these conditions was the timing of the project which is what has created the issues on all the projects that have impacted on the Federal Government’s credibility. In order to qualify for the funding the project had to be commenced a year before we had planned and completed in one, not three years.
In other words start now or get no funding because it had been flagged that grant funding would be unlikely in the near future. The biggest project we have undertaken and the threat of no funding if we do not comply with their conditions. Who would not take the offer?
But at what cost?
With the design incomplete and public consultation therefore starved of detail we commenced. That is the cost. Due diligence had not been completed, which means we proceeded with a project that still required design work, which meant further research into situations that could arise anywhere along the length of the project.
The cost is we only had a verbal agreement and had yet to have a written agreement from DTEI to have the pedestrian crossover on Unley Road (an important part of the project) installed, and when push came to shove DTEI were not interested in doing it now.
The cost is we are proceeding without knowing that we would be required to turn Culvert Street into a one way street in order to get the pedestrian crossover that DTEI must approve to accommodate safe pedestrian and bicycle access across Unley Road.
The cost is we were unable to consult with our residents on sufficient detail.
These factors leave the City of Unley with egg on their face, even though they were largely out of our control.
It leaves us with a public that are distressed at not being consulted. It leaves us with a public that simply cannot understand why a road needs to be converted to one way when there is visibly no reason for it.
So the next time we are faced with a do it now or forget it grant funding offer I ask “Are we prepared to pay the cost to get the funding?, noting that the observations above are not the only ones that could be made that can be attributed to the fact that we did not know what it was going to cost us to get the grant when we did.
With luck we might find DTEI may revise their scheduling for the crossover so that the project can be seen for what it should be? Watch this space!