THE Wangoom community will debrief with the Moyne Shire about frequent cycling events restricting access to their rural properties after the weekend’s Tour of the South West race.
While many residents welcomed the boost to the local economy, others were frustrated by the Warrnambool City Council-run event, claiming there was little detail provided about when they could come and go.
Click on the photo to view the image gallery from the Tour of the South West
Familiar arguments between motorists and cyclists on Wangoom Road flared up on The Standard website yesterday, as readers reacted to reports of tacks being thrown onto the Tour of the South West racing course on Saturday.
Wangoom resident Andy Cumming said the unnecessary act of sabotage was most likely a reaction from a disgruntled resident’s “true frustration and helplessness in the situation. Thumb tacks on the road are never going to do anything but aggravate the situation, but obviously it’s happened through frustration,” Mr Cumming said.
“People were told initially in a letter they would not be allowed to access or leave their property unless it was an emergency.
“When we called up to get more information we got a different story, and that’s why people have got their nose out of joint. People needed to know they could still access their property.
“It wasn’t until about three days before the bike race we received a really good A3 poster to show the directions, times of the race, so we could come and go with the flow of the riders.”
Warrnambool City Council communications manager Kim Sweetnam said the prime consideration was the safety of riders, spectators and local road users.
“If we can improve any aspect of organisation for next year, we will.”
Ms Sweetnam said letters were sent out to the community on March 15 outlining the map, time estimates, and contact details for more information.
But Mr Cumming told The Standard the letter and map were unclear about the race direction and the fact residents were able to come and go.
“Most properties in the area are small businesses and farms, so to be told point blank they can’t access or leave their property, it’s obviously put a lot of people out.
“There’s definitely a push from the local community that they want to have a debrief meeting with the shire about the whole event and process, so it can be done better.
Moyne Shire mayor Jim Doukas said he had been emailed about the debriefing and hoped a meeting could take place soon.
“It’s definitely on the council agenda to sit around with residents and address their concerns to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Cr Doukas said.
“Farmers can’t know when they are going to have to leave their property.
“At some point in time we have to discuss the future of cycling on that road.”
South Coast Race Team director Andy Graham had nothing but praise for the event and said even the tack incident had failed to put off visiting riders.
“On the contrary, everyone is expressing support for the race, with many teams stating they will be bringing more riders next year,” he said.
“Between the Melbourne to Warrnambool and this race ... (Warrnambool is) fast turning into the racing capital of Victoria with arguably two of the best events on the calendar occurring in the city.”