Community urged to ‘Walk for Wellbeing’

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The Cardinia Shire community is banding together to support each other in the true spirit of Christmas for a tribute walk in memory of loved ones lost this year.

Katrina Chatfield’s sister Nikki was claimed by a crash in Pakenham South when her car collided with another at the corner of Five Mile Road and Hall Road on Monday 24 October.

The long-time Nar Nar Goon resident told the Gazette her sister had turned out of that road every day on her way to work for the last 14 years and had often warned others of the dangerous intersection.

She was 45 years old.

“Nikki used to always say that intersection was a death trap. Authorities are pretty confident that she didn’t see the car coming because of all of the dust,” Katrina said.

“The council should be putting dust depressant on the roads. I’ve had to pay for it out of my own pocket in the past. Why can’t the council budget to have dust depressant put on roads that are really busy?

“I have lived in Nar Nar Goon nearly my whole life, and in that time my rates have more than doubled and there is so much more traffic on the roads.

“They are making plans to grow the population yet they haven’t got the services and the infrastructure to account for the volume of traffic.”

Katrina said Seven Mile Road was in an appalling condition and needed to be “re-sealed properly”.

“I get the impression that all the council and VicRoads seem to do is pass the buck, and nothing seems to get done.

“I was nearly cleaned up by a car on Bald Hill Road the day after Nikki’s funeral. It was really scary.

“The roads need to be made safer and people also need to learn to drive to the conditions. Cars are a weapon.”

Bunyip resident Marie Hansen-Nooy has coordinated a Walk for Wellbeing to raise awareness of some of the shire’s most dangerous roads.

“I would like the community to stand together as one and, in union, place one foot in front of the other like the grieving families are trying to do after the loss of somebody dear to them who has become a victim of our treacherous, poorly kept roads,” Marie, the mother of seven, said.

“I want to not only make the roads safe for us now, but also for our children.

“I’ve known Katrina and her family since we were kids. Where Nikki was killed is such a busy intersection. You can’t even differentiate where the give way lines should be.

“There needs to be improved lighting, more give way and stop signs at dangerous intersections – especially on dirt roads – and safety rails near embankments like Bunyip River Road and Main Drain Road.

“It shouldn’t take a death for the council or VicRoads to go out and do maintenance.”

Seven lives have been claimed on Cardinia Shire roads this year to date, including an eight-year-old girl.

Four were driving at the time of the collision and two were motorcyclists.

“Whether we have two people or 200 people come along for the walk, it’s a start,” Marie said.

“I’m hoping to do this walk each year. It gives families the chance to reflect on the people who have passed in our community and to be able to go on to enjoy Christmas knowing we’ve paid tribute to them.

“There are so many families who have lost someone close to them.

“It’s also a chance to give thanks for those who have had serious accidents on these roads and have survived.”

Marie identified fatalities at Ballarto Road, Seven Mile Road, corner of Heads Road and Caldermeade Road, McGregor Road, corner of Thirteen Mile Road and Bunyip River Road, Main Drain Road, corner of Hall Road and Five Mile Road, and Longwarry Road.

Walk for Wellbeing will begin at 5.30pm on Friday 23 December at the corner of Thirteen Mile Road and Bunyip River Road, Vervale, and the group will gather at St Joseph’s Church Iona for refreshments.

Candles will be available to be lit to remember a loved one.

For more information, visit the Facebook event Walk for Wellbeing on our Roads-“Inspired by Angels”.

Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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