Local MP and residents claim it is time to accept more responsibility for Baker road ford
Member for Taylor, Leesa Vlahos, is calling on Playford Council to step up and match District Council of Mallala’s $80,000 allocation to improve safety and access to the Baker road ford.
Mrs Vlahos met with concerned local residents at the ford on Thursday, June 27, to discuss the issue and said closures because of water over the ford impacted greatly on local businesses, farmers and residents.
“Mallala is a much smaller council and they have committed to improving the ford,” she said.
“But Playford Council is ignorant about the business impact that closing the crossing has.
“The councillors don’t get the agricultural and horticulture concerns. They don’t place value on these farms.”
The ford was jointly maintained by DCM and Playford Council, Mrs Vlahos said, but Playford council has committed only a tenth of what DCM had to improving the crossing.
In August last year Playford Council resolved: “The City of Playford gives ‘in principle’ support to the upgrade of the Bakers Road Ford on the basis of receiving State Black Spot Funding and an annual amount of $8,000 be included for consideration as an unfunded initiative in the 2013/2014 financial year budget.”
Playford Council mayor, Glenn Docherty, said council resolved to give in-principle support on the basis of receiving Nation Building Black Spot funding.
A joint application was made with the District Council of Mallala but the submission was unsuccessful. Mr Docherty said the next step was for the application to be considered at the State Black Spot Funding Program level.
“If successful, the program will fund at least two thirds of the cost of the upgrade, with the two councils sharing the balance of the cost,” Mr Docherty said.
“We will await the outcome of the State Black Spot funding application before considering alternative funding options, with council remaining committed to working with the District Council of Mallala to realise a positive solution to the Baker Road ford.”
Mary Trimboli, who lives nearby and uses the crossing on a regular basis, said it was one of the main thoroughfares between Two Wells and Virginia and she was particularly concerned about safety.
“It’s too narrow when two cars are going across,” she said.
“It’s much too dangerous. Lives have been lost.
“How many more lives have to be lost for something to be done?”
In 2011 a motorcyclist died at the crossing.
Concerned residents presented a petition with more than 600 signatures to Playford Council in February this year asking the council to commit funds to upgrade the crossing.