WILSONS Creek residents will have to wait until the end of next year for the road they rely on to get in and out of their community to be repaired, a public meeting on the damaged road has been told.
Byron Shire Council acting general manager Phil Holloway said work to repair the road, which was damaged in a landslip during storms in January this year, was expected to start some time between March and June next year and was expected to be finished by the end of next year.
In the meantime, interim work began on the road yesterday. That work would take about a month, but would allow vehicles of up to five tonnes to use the road again.
The council said about 80 people attended the meeting at the Wilsons Creek Public School, voicing concerns about issues such as emergency vehicle access to Wilsons Creek and the need for an overall project manager to oversee the road's repair.
Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson acknowledged the concern about emergency vehicle access as "natural".
"It's all possible with the support of other government agencies and Council will strongly pursue this option with National Parks, but in the meantime we need to get on with fixing the road," he said.
That was okay with the residents, with Cr Richardson saying the meeting showed experts on ecology, aquatic ecology, and engineering were among the residents of Wilsons Creek and were willing to offer their services to get the project moving.
Many suggestions were made on possible solutions to fix the road and the need for an overall project manager to help drive the works, he said.
The meeting came as work began on interim "soil nailing" to stabilise the road, which was damaged during storms in January this year.
Byron Shire Council acting general manager Phil Holloway said the works, which would take about a month to complete, would allow vehicles weighing up to five tonnes to use the road again.
"The road will need to be closed to traffic from next Monday 26 November to Thursday 29 from 10am to 2pm to allow the work to occur," he said.
Mr Holloway said the Natural Disaster Funding limited what could be done with the road and only allowed the council to build a road to the same level as the one that was damaged in the January storm.
"Anything different or above a level of road that was previously there, would need additional funding from Council," he said.
"As a result, the construction design will involve a rock wall buttress with a gabion terramesh wall which is basically a strong wire netting filled with rocks.
"The concept designs have been completed and approved by the Fisheries Department subject to conditions.
"A flood study on the concept design has also been completed and has shown no impact on neighbouring properties.
"We are now working on final designs and an environmental assessment including aquatic ecology. These will then need to be submitted to Roads and Maritime Services and Fisheries for approval and then we can go out to tender for the works.
At this stage it is anticipated that work could commence between March and June 2013 with a completion by the end of 2013.
"In the meantime, staff will be speaking with emergency services to ensure access for emergency vehicles."
Other issues raised on the night included water availability, school transport arrangements, additional need for other road repairs, impacts on small businesses and the movement of heavy vehicles to carry out works on individual properties.
Cr Richardson added that Council also committed to more regular updates for residents and to develop clear and consistent communication channels to ensure residents are kept up to date with the process.