Denmark votes against second bridge
The Shire of Denmark council has voted down a plan to build second bridge crossing of the Denmark River at Riverbend Lane at last night’s council meeting.
A new bridge across Denmark River 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.
An overflowing chamber heard more than 20 speakers, including one dressed as a tree, voice a variety of concerns with option 3B in public question time.
Some of the key issues discussed in question time surrounded differences in the engineering specifications of the two options, the community consultation process and environmental concerns.
Chief executive Bill Parker’s report to council had found that the other option being considered, 3E, was not financially viable as it exceeded the project budget by $2.1 million.
The recommendation was narrowly defeated four votes to five after a lengthy debate saw councillors cover both sides of the argument.
Speaking in favour of option 3B, councillor Peter Caron highlighted the financial benefits of 3B and the long term implications of voting against the recommendation.
“Option B is within the budget contingency and it doesn’t disrupt the Agricultural College,” he said
“If we don’t move this motion the cash strapped State will lose confidence in us.
“This project is vital to the future of Denmark- we need to recognise the benefits.”
Shire deputy president Ceinwen Gearon said a second bridge was required, however more research needed to be done.
“I believe there are too many questions still to be asked about this bridge,” she said.
“Not accepting 3B is an opportunity that we can grasp.”
A motion was then moved by Cr Gearon that requested the suspension of the western section of the project until further consultation was made.
This motion was passed in a seven votes to two majority.
Shire president David Morrell, who voted against the motion, warned the council of their actions.
“We’re reneging on our contract and I think that’s a bad thing.” he said.
Mr Parker said he had not been involved in a situation where a council has requested for a project to be split into two sections.
The second condition of the motion states that the Shire will write to the Department of Regional Development and Lands to request that the milestones and obligations of the western section of the project be extended by 12 months.
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