March 25, 2022
South Burnett Regional Council will investigate materials used to resurface a Kingaroy road after residents expressed concerns it may be toxic.
On Thursday, nine sets of home owners living along a 2km strip of Birt Road met with South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto and Cr Kathy Duff to call on the Council to take urgent action to fix the road.
Residents said they were concerned the road had been resurfaced in 2020 with a mixture of gravel and something that seemed similar to concrete dust.
They said this had not only caused their homes and water tanks to be blanketed by dust whenever vehicles drove by, but raised health concerns as well.
One resident told the Mayor her husband – who had never smoked – had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, and she believed dust from the road was the most likely cause.
Another said she suffered from asthma and had been in hospital twice since she moved to the area from Maleny.
This had never occurred when she lived on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, she said.
Apart from excessive dust whipped up by passing motorists, other residents told the Mayor the road also had severe drainage issues.
Troy and Samantha Hartshorn told the Mayor they were forced to sandbag the front door of their house every time it rained because drainage channel water now flooded their property.
This had never happened until the road was re-gravelled in May 2020, when the road surface was raised by roughly 20-30cm.
This meant the road was now higher than their driveway, which had created a new path for stormwater across their property.
Many of the residents said they had lodged complaints with the Council about the dust and drainage issues during the past two years.
But when nothing had been done, they thought it best to ask the Mayor to personally inspect the problems they were experiencing.
Mayor Otto said he appreciated the opportunity to meet them in person, and agreed the roadbase used on one section of Birt Road seemed significantly different to other sections.
He said he would have it examined to determine if it was toxic.
Mayor Otto said while Council had funds to seal the road, the estimated $950,000 cost meant other competing high-priority projects would need to be deferred if this occurred.
He said councillors were examining next year’s road projects as part of their Budget deliberations and it was likely to be a month or two before a final list could be drawn up.