When Big Media Aren’t the Biggest

Scene: Boardman Rd, Bowral, NSW, Australia. A quiet residential street.

Enter: Holden, with location sourcing company Sach Australia, production company Exit Films, Wingecarribee Shire Council and Cato Traffic & Logistics.

Action:
Holden is filming part of a new television commercial – probably promoting their Australianness – in the Southern Highlands. The Holden vehicle is travelling along Boardman Rd, Bowral followed by a camera tracking vehicle and Cato Traffic are implementing a “‘Hold & Release’ traffic management treatment.” Sach Australia has courteously notified local residents about four days ahead of time, advising that there might be up to three minutes of traffic delays.

The complications:
Boardman Road is a long street, with playing fields, numerous houses, a pub, a school, and a number of intersecting streets, including the NSW B73 (Kangaloon Road/Sheepwash Road). The neighbour notification did not provide any detail as to which section of Boardman Road would be used. As it turned out, only the section between King Ranch Drive and Kangaloon Road was to be used, meaning both of these intersections were closed. A further issue was that Wingecarribee Council was carrying out road and earthworks along both Boardman and Kangaloon Roads, with associated traffic control.

Instead of using appropriate signage (perhaps at the Old South Road-Kangaloon Road intersection) to alert drivers, or indeed placing detour signs, Cato Traffic simply closed the streets. I came to two closed intersections, giving rise to a five or six km detour through narrow residential streets. The controller I spoke to did not suggest the road would only be closed momentarily (as the letter did), but was asking traffic to turn around. Given the number of circular and closed loops in East Bowral, the situation was frustrating for a number of drivers. Council’s decision to do roadwork only complicated the matter. Furthermore, there is a lot of foot traffic to and from the school at this time of day.

I’m happy for the filming to take place, and I can accept that there might be some interruptions to traffic flow, but I have a couple of questions:

  • Why did Cato not use adequate signage and/or detour routes?
  • Why would Council schedule road works in and around the filming site?
  • Why did Sach not provide more information to begin with?
  • Why did this filming have to take place in the first week of school, during the morning peak?

I’ve included a little map below giving an indication of some of the locations mentioned. Boardman Road is in green, Kangaloon Road in blue, council’s worksites with markers, and the actual filming location in pink. For a larger map, click here.

Holden Ad in East Bowral

UPDATE – March 21, 2014: I have removed references and links to profiles of a person whom I assumed was involved as an actor in the production given some social media posts at the time, but who was not involved as an actor. I have also invited the production company to respond, but they chose not to do so.