A long-running dispute over road works Ravenswood residents say has affected their property prices has been raised in state parliament.
Liberal member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell has called on the minister for roads and road safety to ensure no residents were financially disadvantaged by decreased property valuations near the Jock Comini Memorial Rest Stop Area.
Ms Lovell said minister Luke Donnellan needed to protect property values with an “adequate sound barrier” to trucks entering the Jock Comeni Memorial Rest Stop Areaand the construction of a sealed access road to residents near the Calder Highway and Bickfords Road.
A group of residents have been locked in negotiations with VicRoads forabout two years.
They have been in talks since VicRoads began a process to stop people pulling out of driveways and onto the Calder. Instead, residents will have access from Bickfords Road, behind their properties.
The residents are also concerned about the new rest stop, which sits across the road from their properties.
It had been a long and sometimes heated process, with residents recently considering legal action to temporarily halt works, though that idea was on hold.
Resident Shane Hartland believed property values had been affected, citing a nearby property that had sold for $187,000 after the interchange started and during negotiations about residents losing driveway access to the Calder.
He said a valuation in 2006 of his wife’s property, which was right next door to the property recently sold, was put at $280,000.
“It was the same same builder, same sort of land overlay. The houses are pretty much identical. It has a bit more shedding and ours has a bit more land,” he said.
“But the value of the properties would be identical, normally.”
Mr Donnellan, through his spokesperson, would not confirm to the Bendigo Advertiser whether he would step in.
Mr Donnellan’s spokesperson said residential acoustic fences had been offered to locals to help reduce noises adjacent to the highway.
VicRoads northern regional director Brian Westley said the agency had been working with impacted property owners and council to ensure safe access to the Calder Highway from Bickfords Road.
“Pending property owner consent, VicRoads will provide residential acoustic fencing as part of the changed access arrangements,” he said.
The fences would be paid for by VicRoads and installed by a contractor. They were of a kind the agency said had been tested to help reduce noise associated with busy roads.
Mr Hartland said he had not been contacted by VicRoads about that plan but believed the idea would be a “good start”.
His property was close to the truck stop and he hoped that if the fences were not successful in blocking out noise from trucks VicRoads would return and install a “proper sound barrier”.
VicRoads said Bickford Road is managed and maintained by the City of Greater Bendigo.