Councillor Don Palmer Providing Local Leadership & Working for You

Footpath maintenance is at the core of Council business. Part of the ol’ rates, roads & rubbish mantra of what Councils are there for, aren’t they.

FootpathCouncil is due to receive a report from their depot management proposing a new approach to footpath maintenance. I expect we will receive the report at our August meeting.

Their initial thoughts were work shopped with elected members last Monday night. I felt at our briefing that we had different agendas, councillors and staff.

The focus by staff from the depot was in the life span of a footpath. Their focus was on the evenness or the unevenness of the footpath. In assessing the future of our footpath maintenance you may remember those “moon buggies” driving down your street a year or so ago.

Elected members have been given a short list of streets that staff would like us to compare as being an acceptable standard. Footpaths in streets that have  a greater level of unevenness will qualify for upgrade.

Of more concern I believe to you, our rate payer, and our elected members including myself are the ever present trip hazards that we see now in our paved footpaths. Trip hazards are a more important area of attention in our footpath maintenance regime. While we can be proactive with the unevenness in our footpaths, trip hazards by their very nature can only be treated reactivity.

We currently budget for $ 800 k of proactive maintenance and $ 500 k of reactive maintenance. Our depot management believe we can save $ 200 k from the proactive budget by adjusting our (their) interpretation of what unevenness is acceptable.

The depot, possibly due I think to budget constraints, have looked at 20 mm being an acceptable trip hazard. I personally think 10 mm is excessive and dangerous. Rather than simply saving therefore $ 200 k from our overall budget I believe we (if elected members concur with the new staff unevenness assessment) should divert funds from the proactive evenness to the reactive trip hazard footpath maintenance.