Yirrangan Rd, Wanginu Park

Long-awaited Jacksons Hill road to be built by 2029

Another decision on the Yirrangan Rd to Watsons Rd connection in Jacksons Hill has been made. Hume City councillors voted this week to build it by 2029.

Council officers proposed the project be deferred pending the development of Sunbury South. However, Sunbury councillor Trevor Dance, and a handful of residents who caught wind of the proposal, had other ideas when it came to a meeting of the council on Monday 13 May.

Cllr Dance proposed councillors ignore city officials’ advice and agree to build the road by 2029 at a cost of $28m – including $3.2m from Development Victoria. Cllr Dance’s proposal was seconded by councillor Jack Medcraft.

Council officials say the road – which will connect Jacksons Hill and the future Sunbury South residential area with the Sunbury’s town centre and the Calder Freeway – would cut through the site of historical Aboriginal artefacts at Wanginu Park. Recovery work, with the cooperation of the site’s traditional owners, would take three years and cost $6m.

Cllr Dance said the community has been repeatedly promised a third exit out of Jackson’s Hill.

“The local residents in Sunbury have been promised this project would go ahead – and it should go ahead,” he said.

He went on to say that in 2018 Josh Bull MP announced the road would be built, and in 2022 – while sitting as mayor – Carly Moore announced work would start on the project in 2024.

“There will be no ring road from Sunbury Rd to Lancefield Rd, as was promised…And the ring road from Elizabeth Drive has also been cancelled,” said Cllr Dance.

Cllr Bell stood to support Cllr Dance’s notice of motion saying the road “…has been a very long, drawn out, and painful process”.

“I know the Jacksons Hill community were promised a lot of things by people who were probably in no position to make those promises – and that is incredibly disappointing,” he said. “I think it is time we get an answer as to whether or not it is possible to build this road.”

Cllr Jack Medcraft says he was on the council when the road was first proposed.

“Since then the ownership of the area has changed three times, and every time it changed we had to review and go back to where we were before,” he said.

“But one thing that hadn’t come up in the process was a cultural heritage maintenance program (CHMP). No one knew about CHMP, that hadn’t been an issue. I’d certainly like to see this go ahead. I support it. But I think we need to take a reality check.”

…Report continues below…

Jacksons Hill road debate

Following the publication of the council’s agenda last week, and a subsequent report in Sunbury Life, nine Sunbury residents sent council their thoughts on what it should do.

Chris O’Neill wrote saying that deferring the road was a “…flagrant betrayal of the community, because Hume – with no shadow of a doubt – wants to redirect this funding [$28m] to one of their other two wards”.

“This is a yearly occurrence, right around budget time, where Hume strip funding from Sunbury for the betterment of the other side of the council,” he wrote. “This community has for decades been promised a road and Hume has done little to nothing to deliver it.”

Sally Eagles wrote to council supporting the council officers’ recommendation to defer the road’s construction saying the money should be spent on a “smarter road elsewhere”.