Uncertainty on future of new bridge

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

The Shire of Denmark is yet to set a date for another special council meeting after last week’s five-hour session left councillors undecided about the location of its new bridge across Denmark River.

A new bridge is one component of the Denmark East Development Precinct Project, which comprises the construction of a light industrial area east of Denmark and associated connector roads.

The Shire received $7.6 million of funding from the State Government for the project.

Minister for Regional Development Terry Redman said if the project’s next milestone, on March 31, was not met, the Shire would risk defaulting.

Shire chief executive Bill 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.

In December, the council sent a letter to the Department of Regional Development and Lands requesting a 12-month extension on all milestones associated with the bridge.

Last week’s meeting, which was attended by nearly 200 residents, was called after the department rejected the Shire’s request for an extension.

The council narrowly voted against the officer recommendation to endorse a crossing point at Riverbend Lane, known as option 3B.

Another motion was then defeated that requested the council approve option 3E, which crosses the river further south than option 3B.

This led to a motion that recommended the council ask Mr Redman to reconsider his decision to reject the Shire’s request for a 12-month extension on the bridge, which was also defeated.

During the meeting, concern was raised about whether the council could hear an identical motion after it had been defeated. This would have meant option 3B would not be able to be considered because a near identical motion had been defeated at the December council meeting.

A Department of Local Government and Communities spokes-woman quashed this concern.

“If a matter that has been considered by a council at a council meeting is voted against at that meeting, it can be brought again to subsequent ordinary or special council meetings,” she said.

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