Shire pleads for funding extension

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

The Shire of Denmark will request a four-month extension to the deadlines for a new bridge across Denmark River as the council remains undecided on a suitable crossing point.

The bridge is one component of the $14 million Denmark East Development Precinct Project, which comprises the construction of a light industrial area east of Denmark.

A motion was passed at a special council meeting on Tuesday authorising Shire chief executive Bill Parker to write to the Minister for Regional Development to request an extension to the March 31 deadline.

The motion was passed seven votes to two, with Shire president David Morrell and councillor Rob Whooley voting against the motion.

Cr Morrell said the request for an extension left the Shire vulnerable.

“I think we’re leaving ourselves to the mercy of the new Government,” he said

“I’m pessimistic about the future and I think we’ve missed the opportunity.”

Speaking for the motion, Cr Yasmin Bartlett said more time was required. “By giving a four-month extension, that’s going to allow us to be in a better position to make a better decision,” she said.

The March 31 deadline requires a crossing point to have been chosen, with relevant permits in place, and Mr Parker conceded recently this milestone would not be met.

The Shire received $7.6 million of funding from the State Government for the project under a Financial Assistance Agreement.

The Government funding is at risk of being recalled if the deadlines within the FAA are not reached.

The council requested a 12-month extension for the milestones relating to the new bridge in December.

However, this was rejected.

In January, a marathon five-hour council meeting saw three motions defeated, leaving the council undecided on the location of the bridge.

The motion passed on Tuesday also recommends that the Shire ascertain if additional funding is available for the project after Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman indicated this possibility in a letter to the editor in the Denmark Bulletin.

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