For four years Kapunda postal delivery officer, Mr Graham Davidson has been navigating pot-holed footpaths and overgrown verges in his efforts to deliver mail.
He’s been ducking and weaving his way around town, avoiding overhanging branches, ground-covers that have escaped private property boundaries, and hedges that encroach his path.
He has corresponded with Light Regional Council regularly since September 2017, and says it’s time a solution was found.
“I’m angry, I’m over being polite and nice, I’ve been doing that for four years and nothing has changed!” said the disgruntled postie.
Last week he voiced his concerns through a Letter to the Editor in The Leader and since then, has received a “surprising” amount of support from locals who agree paths should be safe for all, further validating his mission to lobby Council to create a “clear policy” for property owners, or at the very least, a public awareness campaign.
He has since toured around town with a council staff member to point out sites he says are a danger to him as well as the wider public, but Graham was still left feeling “very frustrated.”
“The resolution was there was no resolution. Council doesn’t have the resources or the funding to attend to all my concerns,” he said.
“Under the Local Government Act, it clearly states that the property owner is responsible for keeping public access areas, including footpaths and verges, clear and safe. Council’s responsibility under the act is to police that!”
Graham has now been forced to take the situation into his own hands.
“My immediate solution is if I can’t access a property safely, I’ll advise that property owner that they have to collect their mail from the post office because I can’t deliver it,” Graham said.
“I’ve notified six in the last two days already and I’ve still got more. In the short term, there is probably about a dozen homes, maybe more.”
Also concerned about the quality of footpaths, or lack thereof in some instances, Graham said he often witnesses students, parents and grandparents pushing prams as well as people driving mobility scooters on the road.
“About 12 months ago I did my own little survey, asking people why they were walking on the road. Their comment was that they were taking their chances with the traffic rather than the footpath with all the ruts, gutters, potholes and overhanging branches and shrubs,” Graham said.
He is urging those who have safety concerns to write to Council.
“I’m on 50 kilometres of road, five days a week and I think I’m probably the best qualified person in town to talk about the condition of where I work,” Graham said.
“The verges and footpaths are my workplace and Council are responsible for me having a safe workplace, but I’m not the only person that needs the footpath.
“I am genuinely concerned about people on mobility scooters doing 10 kilometres an hour sharing the road with heavy vehicles, especially down Main Road adjacent to the supermarket where there is nowhere else to go… They have to actually share the road with traffic doing 60 k’s an hour.
“It scares me, it’s an accident waiting to happen!”
Light Regional Council’s Operations Manager, Mr Jason Norman told The Leader that Council have a large network of infrastructure to maintain, including footpaths, roads, bridges, playgrounds, community buildings, and is continually working with the community to ensure appropriate service levels are
“Vegetation encroaching onto the footpath network is part of Council’s maintenance schedule, and includes the clearing of vegetation by both residents and council staff,” he said.
“Over the past four years, Council has constructed over 20 kilometres of paved footpaths throughout its townships under the Accelerated Infrastructure Programme and will continue to invest $120,000 annually towards footpath upgrades.
“The upgrades provide a higher level of service for pedestrians, mobility riders and the local postal delivery service team.
“Council will continue to work with the local community to ensure a balance of streetscape aesthetics and footpath envelopes are maintained ongoing.”