IF 2013 was the year of bike lanes in Vincent, then the council’s 2016 budget marks the year for pedestrians.
It’s one of the most common requests from the public and three of the worst pedestrian crossings will be made safer; the intersections of William and Bulwer Streets, Loftus and Burke and Vincent and Fitzgerald.
But it’s a pricey process: “This is a huge investment,” mayor John Carey says.
“William and Bulwer alone is $200,000 … to put in a green pedestrian crossing we have to upgrade the infrastructure of the lights.”
He says the council really needs the state government to come to the table, as it’s already asked Main Roads to fix some of the intersections, but has been knocked back.
“We’re at constant battle with Main Roads. We sought funding, but it was rejected… with Main Roads you have to drag them kicking and screaming,” Mr Carey said about William/Bulwer intersection.
Vincent homeowners will face a 2.9 per cent rate rise this year, higher than the 1.6 per cent CPI, but the city still has a pretty low rate-in-the-dollar compared to other suburban governments (it’s about the fifth cheapest).
It’s not a sexy budget full of waterslides and rollercoasters.
“The budget does not have the big capital works like the Mary Street Piazza or Oxford Street Reserve or even the bike lanes that we’ve seen in previous years,” Mr Carey says.
But he says a more prudent “asset management reserve” will squirrel money away slowly so ratepayers aren’t hit with a sky-high rate increase if something big breaks down.
“Some people will look at the budget and say it’s boring, but I make no apologies for that,” Mr Carey says, saying it’s important they cover the basics and get their finances in order to smooth out bills over the years.
by DAVID BELL