Sign of interference

By Jade Lawton
A SIGN promoting the Kooweerup Bypass campaign was stolen from its home at Cochrane Park last week.
The sign is one of several the Kooweerup Township Committee had erected around the town, directing frustrated motorists to its website www.kooweebypass.com.au.
The signs were so effective that 78 people went home, logged on to their computers and sent letters to politicians through the site on Boxing Day.
Kooweerup Township Committee president Ray Brown said the sign was worth about $280.
“We might be barking up the wrong tree, but it appears pre-meditated, not a random act. Normally if it was vandalism you would see it in pieces or up a tree or something,” he said. “But what can you do? You can’t do anything.”
Two similar signs, advertising different things just a few metres away, were left untouched.
Sgt Kevin Iles of Kooweerup Police said the sign was stolen overnight on Friday, 8 January.
“It’s not the value so much but the meaning behind it. The assumption is it is someone opposed to the bypass,” he said.
Mr Brown said the committee would put up a new sign as soon as possible. “It is a sign to raise awareness and give people an opportunity to object (to lengthy delays). We will certainly not let it slow down our campaign,” he said.
Secretary Geoff Stokes, who lives on Sybella Avenue, said Boxing Day traffic was banked up to Healesville-Kooweerup Road as thousands of people made their way to Phillip Island and the Bass coast.
“The fact that people were in that, then went home and turned on their computers and visited the site, speaks volumes,” he said. “During the holiday period, people sent on average 12 letters a day.”
Mr Stokes said a 1999 traffic count showed that 452 vehicles used Sybella Avenue every day.
A decade later, in 2009, Kooweerup residents were putting up with 90 trucks an hour – more than 2000 a day, not including the thousands of cars that also drive through Kooweerup.
Mr Brown said the committee was hopeful that 2010, an election year, would bring results.
Anyone with information on the stolen sign is asked to contact Kooweerup Police on 5997 1404.

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