Rural residents shingle road frustration

DANGEROUS: Wards Road residents John Jebson and Grant Prescott - the residents' are unhappy at the state of the road, which they say is unsafe. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

Rural Darfield residents were left feeling frustrated after a meeting with the district council over sealing a shingle road.

Wards Rd residents met with Mayor Sam Broughton, council assets manager Murray Washington and district councillor Bob Mugford last week. The meeting came after the Selwyn Times revealed the residents’ 17-year battle to seal pot-holed Wards Rd between Charing Cross and Greendale Rd in last week’s edition.

Resident Grant Prescott said little progress was made from the meeting, aside from the suggestion they put together a submission for a council meeting.

“I think it’s going to take a serious injury or a death on this road for them to actually do something,” Mr Prescott said.

“I was a police officer in charge of a road traffic policing unit in the UK and I’m going to present [to the council] on the basis that if someone gets killed, it’s too late.”

He served in the North Yorkshire police for 20 years.

Mr Broughton told the Selwyn Times, the district council understood safety concerns from Wards Rd residents and encouraged them to put together a submission.

Unsealed roads make up 45 per cent of the road network in the district, but only carried 5 per cent of traffic, he said.

“The council decided in 2007 to focus its road spending on areas of growth that were impacting roads,” Mr Broughton said. That remained the policy, he said.

Mr Prescott said it was “only a matter of time” before someone gets killed on Wards Rd.

He is aiming to submit to the district council in July.

“It [crashes] is avoidable. This is what frustrates me, it’s totally avoidable,” he said. “They’re extremely stubborn, they’re just naive in the consequences of what could happen, and it will be too late by then.”