Drainage woes to be assessed

AFTER months of campaigning by residents and politicians a local member of parliament claims the State Government has bowed to pressure over drainage issues plaguing Morwell’s Wallace Street.

State Member for Eastern Region Matt Viney recently said the State Government had been “dragged kicking and screaming into a commitment to address drainage issues along the Princes Highway in Morwell”.

He said he had received written confirmation from Premier Ted Baillieu that “an independent assessment” of the drainage problems would be undertaken.

Mr Viney’s comments followed a renewed push by residents, supported by Democratic Labor Senator John Madigan on a visit to the site recently, to see VicRoads act on calls for more extensive works in the area.

Leading the cause has been Wallace Street resident John Stratford who has long maintained drainage works to the rear of his street have been inadequate and could compromise the integrity of the nearby Princes Highway.

Senator Madigan had previously said residents’ concerns “regarding the safety of the Morwell open cut mine and ground movement close to their homes” had been “met with silence” by Latrobe City Council, VicRoads and the Department of Primary Industries.

In response, VicRoads regional director Sebastian Motta told The Express VicRoads had committed to a “further geotechnical assessment of the site to determine whether any further works are required”.

He said work would be undertaken this month.

Mr Viney welcomed confirmation the State Government was “finally” taking the issue seriously.

“It has taken a number of months but the government has finally agreed to properly investigate the potential damage being caused to Wallace Street properties by the flooding.”

He said the response followed his own efforts in State Parliament to raise the concerns of local residents and highlight “the previous lack of action” by government departments and State Member for Morwell Russell Northe on the matter.

Mr Viney said he had received advice from VicRoads it “was and always has been the responsible government agency on this matter”.

He claimed Mr Northe had been unable to clarify this in the past.

Mr Viney said he would advise local residents the State Government had “finally seen the light and come around”.

Residents are likely to reserve their judgement on an outcome given Mr Stratford has been unconvinced by all previous VicRoads findings on the matter.

Mr Motta said previous works in the area had included drilling bore holes beneath the surface to test for water levels and “no issues were found with sub-surface water drainage”.

Mr Stratford has challenged those findings and called for a rock core trench to be dug behind the sound mound, also to the rear of properties, “in an attempt to restore natural groundwater flow”.