Tick for the tiny town of Tinamba

After five years of community campaigning, the stretch of road in front of Tinamba General Store has been overhauled, with new drainage, improved kerbs, line-marking and bus stops. Pictured are Wellington Shire mayor Garry Stephens, Victorian
Roads and Road Safety Minister Ben Carroll, Tinamba advocate Terry Clark and Gippsland Department of Transport director Sara Rhodes-Ward. Photo: Sarah Luke
After five years of community campaigning, the stretch of road in front of Tinamba General Store has been overhauled, with new drainage, improved kerbs, line-marking and bus stops. Pictured are Wellington Shire mayor Garry Stephens, Victorian Roads and Road Safety Minister Ben Carroll, Tinamba advocate Terry Clark and Gippsland Department of Transport director Sara Rhodes-Ward. Photo: Sarah Luke

THE tiny town of Tinamba will have more even reason for people to stop, thanks to the persistence of the community.

Following years of lobbying, a $150,000 upgrade to the Traralgon- Maffra Rd in the town was officially opened on Wednesday.

The works have improved pedestrian and vehicle access to the Tinamba General Store, with the addition of kerbs to the previously gutter-less road, resurfacing, better line-marking, shoulders and drainage.

Even the bus stop has had a facelift - no longer a "big mud hole", as formerly described by residents - and another has been installed on the western side of the road.

The state government allocated $40,000 from its Flexible Local Transport Solutions program for the project, and another $90,000 from its Building Works program, while Wellington Shire Council contributed $20,000.

Roads and Road Safety Minister Ben Carroll said the upgrades meant Tinamba was now a place where people wanted to stop and spend money to support the local economy.

"We're in a beautiful town, and it's now even more beautiful, making sure more and more Victorians stop by and experience it from themselves," he said.

"But most importantly, it's been led by the local community.

"Obviously Terry [Tinamba advocate Terry Clark] has been on this journey for five years with the local business owners, the local businesses, to make sure that this safety upgrade occurs, and that the issues that have been present here for a long time have been dealt with."

Wellington Shire Council mayor Garry Stephens thanked the state government for the major role it played in the upgrade.

"I was here just as the works were starting, and it's amazing to see the difference," he said.

"I know one thing that's been a big issue is this car park area here, and it's just made a huge difference.

"It's quite amazing just how much traffic is on this road - you'd think this is only just a little backwater road - but it's major.

"The state government and the council have both got some ticks today - it won't last, Minister, but we've got some ticks."

The original lack of kerb and drainage affected the Tinamba General Store, with proprietor Rupi Multani previously saying the amount of water sometimes in front of the store deterred people from entering.

The upgraded car park now entices more visitors to stop in Tinamba on their journey through the district, instead of travelling straight to Maffra.

"We are really happy with the works done in Tinamba," Mr Multani said on Wednesday.

"It's improved the business, and it's improved the quality of life over here.

"The locals have had a positive response, as well as the tourists coming through - they've come in the past and they see the difference - they're really happy for us."

Resident and community advocate Terry Clark has been trying to cut red tape since he retired to Tinamba some five years ago.

Arriving at the store one day to see its front flooded, Mr Clark pointed it out to Mr Multani, who told him the drainage issue had been there for years, but his calls for help had fallen on deaf ears.

Both agreed something needed to be done.

"I started pushing the shire, the shire said it's Regional Roads [Victoria], so I pushed Regional Roads, and they said it's the shire - it's a grey area," he said.

Mr Clark said the town had 2500 vehicles per day travelling trough, including 1800 trucks, so it should have been a priority for everyone involved.

With piles of correspondence at home from ministers, councillors and departments, Mr Clark was happy to finally tick one problem off the list.

He has already set his sights on his next battle - an old concreted verge in front of the store, which is prone to flooding and weeds, that he hoped could be turned into a grassed nature strip, like the one opposite.

Residents have already successfully lobbied for reduced speed limits through the town, and signs reminding truck drivers not to use engine brakes.

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