Horsham Rural City Council changes footpath management policy despite concern it represents a drop in standards

HORSHAM Rural City Council has adopted a change to its footpath management policy despite concerns from some councillors that it represented a drop in standards.

The footpath policy is part of Horsham council’s road management plan, which must be reviewed ever four years.

The main changes included a reactive inspection timeframe; a new type of hazard to report- loose,slippery or cracking surfaces; and an increase from 20 millimetres to 25mm for trip hazards requiring repair, based on industry standards.

Trip hazards will no longer be marked with yellow paint if they fall below the new 25mm threshold.

The hazard paint issue and the changing standards triggered debate during Monday night’s Horsham council meeting.

Mayor Heather Phillips said it was really a budget issue and the council didn’t have the money to fix all the faults. 

“You can say it’s a risk management issue, but it’s a physical works issue,” she said.

Cr Tony Phelan said his interpretation was that there would be fewer yellow lines but quicker responses to footpath faults.

Cr Robin Barber said he would not support the motion.

“It seems like we’re lowering our standards to me,” he said.

“There may well be a general standard, but we are in an absolutely unique situation: there is no other area in Victoria that has soil movement like we do here in Horsham.

“We have got an ageing population.”

Cr David Grimble said he also opposed the motion as council should wait for the full review in January 2017.

Cr Mark Radford said he supported the motion but noted the concerns.

“The benefits will be less time spent responding to lower-risk faults and more time on long-term repairs.” he said.

Cr Radford said the council should establish a footpath taskforce.

Cr Sue Exell said the existing paint would last for years and the plan meant more time spent on repairs.