Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Little Town

My little home town isn’t a hole. It’s actually a collection of holes: potholes, as well as ridges, decaying shoulders, degrading surfaces, broken gutters, uneven footpaths and potholes. Did I mention the potholes? Lots of potholes.

Over a decade of inadequate maintenance followed by two major flood events in the past year or so has seen the roads in the Manning Valley approach the end of their usefulness. They are in an appalling state, and it doesn’t look like getting much better in the future.

Greater Taree City Council is responsible for maintaining about 1700km of local roads. GTCC needs to be honest with itself and with us: they don’t have the money or the resources to fix what needs fixing, and they don’t know when or where they’re going to find the money.

And the roads keep getting worse.

Meanwhile, the Greater Taree City Council – the same council that can’t afford to bring its roads up to an acceptable standard - is debating the merits of changing it’s name. It’s an emotional issue for locals, many of whom felt that they were left out when smaller councils amalgamated. 49% of residents within the GTCC area don’t live in Taree. They want a more inclusive name, and see this as their chance to correct an injustice. The consensus seems to be that “Manning Valley Council” would be a far more inclusive name.

But seriously, read any local paper or talk to the locals in the street, and you’ll find that with the real possibility of potholes swallowing their cars as they drive the kids to soccer training, they don’t care whether it’s Greater Taree City Council or the Hellmouth…and if you hit some of those potholes, it’s hard to tell the difference.

Changing the name of a local government area isn’t something you do over a weekend. In fact, the council wants to conduct a survey prior to deciding on the change. It’s a great idea to engage the community and consult with them, but the money isn’t there.

Changing the name of a council area isn’t just about changing the name on the side of the council chambers. Firstly, the name and the new logo and branding need to be developed, and then, it needs to be rolled out. Let’s look at just some of the items that would need to be changed:

  • All council signage for roads, parks, Tourist Information Centre, tourist areas and other public areas
  • Signage on pools, parks, libraries, entertainment centre, art gallery, sporting fields and other facilities provided by council 
  • Letterhead, including pre-printed envelopes, comp slips and business cards 
  • Council Publications, Brochures and Maps 
  • Council’s website 
  • Staff Uniforms 
  • Logos on council sponsored events 
  • Some legal documents 
  • Signage on council vehicles and equipment

Now, think about what that is going to cost.

Then think about how many potholes could be filled for the same amount of money.

I support the idea of changing the name to Manning Valley Council, but this is entirely the wrong time to do it.

Simon & Garfunkel My little town Live 1975 by wild-strawberry


  1. Here Here!!! Thoroughly agree. We live in fear of disappearing down one of these potholes whenever we visit our little town. Or causing damage to our car all in the name of visiting family, friends and the beloved Manning Valley.

  2. Hmmm...and now I'm trying to figure out who you are!! Thanks for the comments.