Roadblocks hold up ambulance in Torquay North

September 10, 2020 BY

The ambulance was stopped by this roadblock on Marine Drive near its intersection with Wilson Street and Baird Avenue. Photo: JAMES TAYLOR

THE roadblocks installed by the Surf Coast Shire council in Torquay North are stopping emergency vehicles from doing their job effectively, according to an eyewitness to an incident on Tuesday morning.
Susie Cammarere, who lives in Torquay North, was driving to the supermarket at about 10am when she saw an ambulance, with lights and sirens activated, turning left from Wilson Street and being halted by the roadblock on Marine Drive between the Quay 2 and Quay estates.
She said she had to give the paramedics directions back to Merrijig Drive to get around the roadblock and back onto Marine Drive.
“They were looking around, they clearly didn’t know where to go, so we both wound down our windows.”
Ms Cammarere said the experience left her “furious” that the ambulance could not get through.
“As a registered nurse, I’ve sent council an email saying I hope it wasn’t one of their family members that needed emergency care, but it was somebody in our community that needed emergency medical care that was delayed by the roadblocks that nobody knows why are in place.
“The fact of the matter is that there shouldn’t have been a need to know about the roadblocks, they shouldn’t be there in the first place. They shouldn’t be eliminating access to emergency services and vehicles to go down these roads.”
Ambulance Victoria had not responded to questions about the incident by the time this newspaper went to print.
Members of the Torquay North community against the roadblocks have also co-ordinated a letter-writing campaign to more than 60 businesses across the Surf Coast Shire, urging them to support a change.org petition (which now has just under 700 signatures) calling for the roadblocks’ immediate removal and to add their names to a formal letter to the council.
Paul Snow, who is part of the campaign, said the plan was to finalise the letter ahead of the next council meeting on Tuesday, September 15.
“A lot of the councillors have been non-responsive to our requests for clarification on our questions. I wouldn’t say we’ve been ignored; our questions have been addressed but with a total lack of transparency and detail that we require to move forward.”
The letter states the decision to install roadblocks “without proper consideration or appropriate community consultation” breaches the objectives of the Local Government Act 2020.
“The issues are compacting upon each other, and eventually the group will have to decide whether they want to pursue this at VCAT or not,” Mr Snow said, adding the chances of having the roadblocks removed as a result of the letter were “very little to none”.
The council set up the barriers on July 13 to close Glengarry, Inshore, Marine and Centreside drives to vehicle traffic at the junction of The Quay and Quay 2 to temporarily re-create traffic conditions for residents in the original Quay development in place before the Quay 2 development started.
According to the council, the roadblocks will remain until the traffic lights at the new intersection of Surf Coast Highway, Coombes Road and Rosser Boulevard are completed in late 2021.