After 55 years of picking up her mail via a letterbox at her place of residence, a well known Bega Valley local is no longer able to, due to the roadwork that council contractors have undertaken between Bega and Tathra.
83-year-old Kalaru resident, Margaret Evans, who’s family name is well known around the area with Evans Hill and Evans Park named in her family’s honour, said access to her property on the corner of Blackfellows Lake Road and Tathra Road has been negatively impacted by the recent roadworks in Kalaru, not once but twice.
Initially access to Ms Evans’ driveway and pedestrian access was reportedly not considered or communicated properly with contractors completely missing her driveway and putting guttering where it was and removing access to her property on Tathra road. This was remedied a short time later.
But now after constant assurances that her postbox (which was removed due to the works), would be put back where it was after it was taken out, Ms Evans has been told it’s not possible to return the letterbox to where it was.
Australia Post said they can no longer deliver to Ms Evans’ property, due to lack of a pull over area, which makes it too dangerous for the mail delivery officer to pull up.
Friend of Ms Evans, Heather Sutterby has described the situation as “derelict” and said council need to be held to account.
“It is disgraceful that our council has not shown due diligence in planning the Kalaru roadworks and has left an iconic, 83 year old, disability resident without pedestrian access to her mailbox and public transport,” Ms Sutterby said.
“Shame on you Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC), this is a travesty akin to elder abuse.”
Ms Sutterby said because Ms Evans’ letterbox has been removed and now “cannot be put back”, it means her friend who drives a mobility scooter, needs to cross Tathra road twice, with no proper road crossings, in order to access her mail from the Kalaru post office.
“They’ve (Council) always maintained that they would work out with Australia Post her mail delivery service,”
“By cutting the road so close into the verge to the perimeter boundary fence of her property on Tathra road, they’ve taken out the ability for any pedestrian access to the front edge of her property and/or the ability for any vehicles to stop safely from Australia Post.”
Ms Sutterby said she would like to see a big improvement in how council and contractors treat locals residents in these situations in the future.
“They need to consult better, and they need to due their due diligence,” Ms Sutterby said.
“A local (contracting) mob did this and council still has signed off on it, and nobody took into consideration the driveway access and nobody has taken any consideration of the mail access,” she continued.
“To me that’s derelict, absolutely derelict and they need to be held accountable for it.”
Bega Valley Shire Council’s Director of Assets and Operations, Ian Macfarlane said council are working with Ms Evans to “reach a satisfactory outcome for all stakeholders”.
Ms Sutterby said Mr Macfarlane and Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick were meant to meet with herself and Ms Evans recently to discuss the matter but the pair pulled out, with only representatives from the contractors attending, leaving long-term a resolution for Ms Evans up the air.
Images: Heather Sutterby