Give back cash for the ‘bridge to nowhere’

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser

A special electors’ meeting will be held in Denmark on Monday to debate a petition from a group opposed to the controversial Denmark East River road bridge project.

The Save East River Forest network group has gathered more than 250 local signatories, all opposed to the Shire of Denmark’s decision to build a second bridge over Denmark Ri-ver.

The petition has called on the Shire to return $4 million funding from Royalties for Regions allocated to the project to the State Government or use it to fund other community projects.

SERF network administrator Lydia Kenyon said the Shire’s proposed bridge locations would affect the integrity, amenity and biodiversity of the Kwoorabup Heritage Trail.

“We had a community consultation regarding the position of the bridge in that area and 91 per cent of respondents was against one particular (3B) proposed site,” Ms Kenyon said.

“(We had) 60 per cent of respondents not agree with any of the proposed alignments, all of which are in the same area. The locals call it a bridge to nowhere, because we can’t see the justification of building the bridge in the first place.”

SERF also petitioned against the Shire’s original decision to use the community’s Roads to Recovery money to fund a third of the project’s overall cost.

“That’s our ratepayers’ money that’s supposed to be used for upgrades and maintenance of our roads,” she said.

“To date, the Shire has never been very forthcoming in notifying the community of that matter.

“One of the primary objectives of this petition is to demonstrate to our elected councillors that we want them to give the money back rather than spending more community money to continue building the bridge.”

Shire of Denmark chief executive Bill Parker said the Shire would cover all SERF’s recommendations.

“We would be issuing a press release later in the week about where we’re at in the project and what’s in front of us and we will go from there,” he said.

The meeting will be at the council chambers at 6pm on Monday.

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