Work site woes

The Alexandrina Council’s new, improved entrance to the historic town of Strathalbyn is set to become a work site … again.
The billiard table smooth bitumen road surface, garden beds and new concrete footpaths complete with heritage-style lighting and street furniture was finally achieved in August last year at a cost of $2.1m and 18-months of disruption to the public. Well, get ready for round two.
For 14 weeks traffic will be disrupted as the perfectly good road is ripped up to move a perfectly good water main a few metres – essentially shifting it from beneath one footpath to beneath the nearest lane, making it compliant with regulations.
The locals will be fuming.
SA Water, which says it has no option but to undertake the work, first warned the council of the potential problem in December 2018 and has laid the blame squarely at its feet.
The council has responded by essentially going to ground.
Rather than communicating openly with ratepayers, it has chosen to issue sub-standard written statements to The Courier’s blindingly obvious and sensible questions.
SA Water says the council did not inform it of the major upgrade in order to establish a co-operative approach should any underground works be scheduled.
SA Water also says it told the council of a potential water main relocation problem in December 2018 when it first became aware of the project – only after it was called to repair the pipe which was damaged by council contractors.
The Courier published a story in August last year at the completion of the project – quoting at length council chief executive Glenn Rappensberg – when it became clear that SA Water was intending to dig up the new road. Yet this time the council has refused to be directly interviewed.
The identical statement to different questions that “the council has a different view of what transpired to that of SA Water and are reviewing our documentation” appears disingenuous to ratepayers.
Why hasn’t the council established exactly who knew what and when from its documents if the issue was raised in the media in August?
The full facts will not be known until the council’s documentation is revealed … let’s hope with a little more transparency.