An overhead view of the property boundaries along Esk Forest Rd, including the encroachments and spoil heap.
An overhead view of the property boundaries along Esk Forest Rd, including the encroachments and spoil heap.

Why this road will be closing, opening at the same time

PROBLEMS with a property boundary have prompted a council to consider closing a rural road, and then immediately reopen it.

The unusual circumstances came about when landowner Beryl Limberg began replacing fencing burnt out in the December 2019 bushfires.

She contracted surveyors to make sure the new fence aligned properly with the property boundary.

Baird and Hayes surveyors were Mrs Limberg’s choice, and they discovered that Esk Forest Rd was encroaching on property boundaries on both sides.

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To fix the problem, their proposal to Somerset Regional Council was for the parts of land where the road overlapped with the property be given over to the road.

In exchange, a parcel of land of equivalent size (about 687 square metres) that is currently included in the road zone, but has no actual road on it, will be added to Mrs Limberg’s land title.

In order to change the boundaries of the road, Esk Forest Rd would need to be closed, but because no physical works would be necessary, the road would be able to reopen immediately.

The changeover would also allow council to improve sight issues at one of the road’s corners.

Council’s Director of Corporate and Community Services Matthew McGoldrick revealed there were a number of other costs to contend with before the road could be closed or reopened.

The first obstacle was that part of the land that would be given to the road in the arrangement is currently the site of a spoil heap, which would need to be relocated.

“Council could remove the spoil heap from the boundary of the property further in at an approximate cost to council of $2000,” he said.

Council would have to carry out a survey of the property as part of the process, and as Baird and Hayes are already conducting a survey, councillors agreed it would make the most sense to contract them for the task, at a quoted cost of $3437.50.

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The cost to council doesn’t end here, with council having to lodge an application for permission to close the old road, and reopen it with the new boundaries.

“Application fees to the relevant state authority would total an approximate amount of $500,” Mr McGoldrick said.

Despite the costs, council chose to push ahead with the plan, agreeing to move the spoil heap and accepting the survey costs.

They have also written to nearby landowners seeking permission to proceed with the closure and reopening of the road.