It’s been a hot topic of discussion for more than a century, but the council’s $8.5 million to be spent on infrastructure projects puts sealing Brindabella Road back on the table.
A poster submitted to the ‘Lost Tumut’ facebook page by Chris Nicholes shows that residents have been calling for an accessible Tumut-Canberra Brindabella Road since 1946, though the push for a direct route to the nation’s capital has been going on for decades before that as well.
“Every organisation and public body is invited and urged to be represented. Fight and strive for this essential construction! Adopt the slogan: ‘the Canberra road must go through!’” the blast-from-the-past signage reads.
Now in 2017 concerned citizen Ron Dean is again calling for the infrastructure money to be spend on sealing the road, which would make Canberra around an hour away from Tumut.
“The infrastructure money should be spent on upgrading it to make it an all weather road – not for transportation, as in big trucks, but for everyday use,” he said.
“By opening the Brindabella Road up you’re going to put more emphasis on this area because of the international airport in Canberra now.
“It’ll open up tourism for not only Tumut but all the of the outlying areas around here: Adelong, Batlow, Talbingo, Tumbarumba, Rosewood, Khancoban.
“We can’t rely on timber, we’ve got to rely on getting people here to spend money. We’ve got everything around here: we’ve got the dams, the orchards, the wineries, the scenery … if we put brochures around Canberra showing people what’s on offer they could come down on their weekends.”
He believes the benefits would flow both ways, allowing tourists from Canberra to visit the Snowy Valleys more easily, and allowing locals to access Canberra’s more extensive services.
“It’ll open it up for people to get better medical facilities,” he said.
“There’s potential for more sporting events, kids can access the Academy of Sport over there – we’ve got talented kids in this area who are disadvantaged because their parents can’t travel for three hours to get to Canberra.”
“This is the time to do it.”
Costings previously done by council show that a complete overhaul of Brindabella Road would require forking out over $100 million – well in advance of the $8.5 million on offer.
However, Snowy Valleys Executive Director of Engineering Services Matthew Christensen said it could at least go towards sealing parts of the road and getting the ball moving for future works.
“I’m not sure exactly what we could do with $8.5 million, but it could do a fair bit of sealing work and safety improvements,” he said.
“At the end of the day the money will be decided by the consultative process.
“If the community said yes this is going to provide economic benefits and improve our lifestyle then most certainly council will follow through in that direction.
“This is an unprecedented amount of money that has come forward and we’re looking forward to seeing what the community priorities are.”
The Snowy Valleys Council will be holding community workshops to hear the public’s thoughts on how the money should be spent, at the following times:
Friday January 20, Jingellic Hotel, 5pm
Saturday January 21, Tooma Inn, 6.30pm
Sunday January 22, Talbingo Country Club, 7.30pm
Monday January 23, Batlow RSL Club, 6.30pm
Tuesday January 24, Club Tumut, 6.30pm
Wednesday January 25, Khancoban Country Club, 6.30pm