A BRIDGE TOO FAR

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

The Shire of Denmark council is expected to hold another special council meeting after a marathon five-hour session on Tuesday left councillors undecided as to the location of its controversial new bridge across Denmark River.

The meeting, which was called after the Department of Regional Development and Lands rejected the Shire’s request for a 12-month extension on the bridge, was attended by hundreds of residents, who turned out to voice their concerns.

A new bridge is one component of the Denmark East Development Precinct Project, which pertains to the construction of a light industrial area east of Denmark.

Shire chief executive Bill Parker authored a series of motions recommending the council endorse a crossing point at Riverbend Lane, known as option 3B.

This motion, which was almost identical to one voted down at the December 20 council meeting, was ultimately defeated five votes to four.

As was the case at the December meeting, councillors Yasmin Bartlett, Jan Lewis, Ceinwen Gearon, Clem Wright and Rob Whooley all voted against the motion.

Cr Bartlett then put forward an alternative motion, accompanied by a Powerpoint presentation, requesting that councillors choose option 3E, which crosses the river further south than option 3B.

This motion was also defeated, which led Cr Whooley to make a motion recommending that the council ask Regional Development Minister Terry Redman to reconsider his decision to reject the Shire’s request for a 12-month extension on the milestones associated with the bridge.

After more debate, this motion was voted down and the meeting was adjourned.

Earlier in the meeting, dozens of residents spoke during more than two hours of public question time as they weighed up both sides of the argument.

Mr Parker said he would meet with the council executive to discuss their options.

“I’m really concerned about the matter — a decision needs to be made swiftly,” he said.

The Shire received $7.6 million of funding from the State government and Minister for Regional Development Terry Redman has said if the project’s next milestone, on March 31, is not met then the Shire will risk defaulting.

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