Moyne Shire Council is responsible for around 3,000km of municipal roads within its municipality. One of these roads is Three Chain Road at Wangoom on the outskirts of the sprawling urban city of Warrnambool. The road runs pretty much North-South, is fairly short (3.3km), is basically unformed, and happens to have environmental reserves a short distance (<1km away) from either end.
Back in 2007 Council’s Environmental Unit was made aware of a major Gorse (Ulex europaeus) outbreak along this road by volunteers with an interest in the environmental reserves. The size of the problem (1.5km long x 40m wide x 3m high in the main patch) immediately took it to #1 as the largest Gorse patch on any Moyne managed roadside. Unfortunately, there was no funding available to treat it at the time but the site was listed as a very high priority in a Victorian Government grant application that was applied for in 2008. Funding was successfully obtained but due to oversubscription it was significantly less than was required to do a thorough job. A single chemical treatment was all that could occur and thankfully the contractor tasked with the job of manually spraying it performed admirably!
Council had insufficient budget available to return in 2009 but spraying was able to occur in 2010 and 2011. Working closely with the local part-time Gorse facilitator in 2012 a machine operating on private land at a nearby area was obtained allowing Three Chain Road to be groomed/mulched (ironically by the original contractor that had manually sprayed it). With additional funding having subsequently been made available Council has returned to spray this roadside twice per year for the five years since. In this time Council has assisted the neighbouring private landholders by allowing them to utilise the contractor whilst on-site to perform Gorse spraying works at minimal cost.
In 2017 the urban sprawl of Warrnambool is creeping ever closer to Three Chain Road but the road itself still remains unformed along its entire length. The only difference is that Gorse bushes are far harder to spot and when they are found they are ankle high rather than towering monsters. Council knows it will need to re-visit this roadside regularly for the foreseeable future to ensure it stays on top of the problem, but looking back on the results of the past nine years of activity it certainly feels that the Three Chain pain is now a gain.