UP IN ARMS: Michael Brown, a resident on Robinson Rd, with the car that incurred severe damage when its oil sump was gutted by a jutting rock.
UP IN ARMS: Michael Brown, a resident on Robinson Rd, with the car that incurred severe damage when its oil sump was gutted by a jutting rock. Renee Albrecht

The Valley road so bad it gutted a car's oil sump

LARGE rocks jutting from a degraded road at Calico Creek have caused repeated damage to cars passing over it, and one frustrated resident is fed up with council's lack of support.

Michael Brown, who has lived on a Robinson Rd property with his wife Bronwyn since 1991, claimed the road had caused more than $1000 in repairs to their Suzuki sedan including a $600 insurance excess after an embedded rock cut open their oil sump last October.

Mr Brown said the incident had almost written off their car.

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"(My wife) was going to work one morning when she heard a bang and realised she'd hit something ... (later) she noticed the engine light was on ... and there was a big puddle of oil underneath the car,” Mr Brown said.

"We towed it to the mechanics, and they found a big hole in the sump that had let most of the oil out.

"If it had been half an inch further it would've been terminal for the car.

"I left for work five minutes after my wife and there was a big trail of oil going up the road, and I thought 'someone's come to grief'.

"We had to pay a $600 insurance excess for a $2,200 fix.”

COSTLY: The hole in the oil sump of the Browns' Suzuki, which costed thousands to replace.
COSTLY: The hole in the oil sump of the Browns' Suzuki, which costed thousands to replace. Contributed

Mr Brown said the couple had endured further costs of around $400 to fix tyres flattened by protruding rocks, while friends and relatives had often damaged their vehicles during visits to the property.

He described the road, which has developed a ridge in the middle from long-term wear created by tyre tracks and inclement weather, as an "ongoing issue” which had also caused a garbage truck and ambulance vehicle to become stuck in the past.

A Gympie Regional Council spokeswoman said council had "responded to Mr Brown's concerns on numerous occasions since 2010”, but had not deemed the road's condition "such that grading is planned” until February.

"Council maintains 900km of unsealed roads, and grading is undertaken on a priority basis,” she said.

"Council staff consider all customer enquiries as legitimate and investigate and respond accordingly.

"Robinson Rd, and all roads across the network are maintained to the standard dictated by resources.

"Council is aware the maintenance of rural gravel roads is an issue for many residents and is included as an Action in Council's Corporate Plan.

"Weather conditions can alter road condition and priorities very quickly.

"Whilst Robinson Rd condition is such that grading is planned, there are higher priority roads and it is expected that it will be some months before Robinson Rd is graded.”

Michael Brown from Calico creek in Gympie is unhappy about his road.
Michael Brown from Calico creek in Gympie is unhappy about his road. Renee Albrecht

Mr Brown said he was "disappointed” no action had been taken, and felt "like a real jerk” when loved ones damaged their cars while visiting.

"Initially they said they'd send someone out to look at it and said it was serviceable, and then the second time after we had more concerns we had a muffled phone call on our answering service, it sounded like they were coming to fix it up but that was quite a few weeks ago,” he said.

"I'm just over it, I kick the rocks off because that's all you can do, I'm just disappointed.

"When I ring them up they're nice and friendly and fine, but it doesn't get the road fixed.”