Council to reconsider bridge option

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

Despite voting against a motion to endorse a second bridge across Denmark River at Riverbend Lane last month, the Shire of Denmark council will again consider a near identical motion at a special council meeting tonight.

A new bridge is one component of the Denmark East Development Precinct, the construction of a light industrial area adjacent to the intersection of McIntosh Road and South Coast Highway.

In December, Shire chief executive Bill Parker authored a motion to progress with the crossing at Riverbend Lane, known as option 3B, which was narrowly voted down five votes to four. An alternative motion was then moved by Shire deputy president Ceinwen Gearon requesting the suspension of the western section of the project and a letter was sent to the Department of Regional Development and Lands asking for a 12-month extension on the milestones associated with the new bridge.

This extension request was recently rejected with Regional Development Minister Terry Redman stating that the Shire was expected to meet the milestones within the Financial Assistance Agreement, otherwise the $7.6 million of funding provided by the State government could be recalled.

At the December council meeting hundreds of residents turned out as more than 20 speakers voiced a variety of concerns with option 3B.

These included engineering specifications, the community consultation process and environmental issues.

Debate among councillors for the motion dealt with the financial benefits of going ahead with option 3B while further concern was raised relating to the consultation process.

Following the consultation period nearly 80 per cent of the 226 submissions were opposed to the project either completely or in part.

Earlier this month a special electors meeting was held which resulted in a series of motions moved relating to the project, including a request that the council appeal against the State Government’s decision to reject the 12-month extension.

These motions will be tabled at tonight’s council meeting with the officer recommendation indicating council should decline this motion as there is no statutory body to lodge an appeal with.

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