Dis­may as de­cay­ing bridge is torn down

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

DOU­GLAS Shire Coun­cil has de­fended a con­tro­ver­sial ex­ec­u­tive de­ci­sion to re­move a pop­u­lar fish­ing and tourist spot, de­spite com­mu­nity back­lash over a lack of con­sul­ta­tion.

The Old Mow­bray Bridge, south of Port Dou­glas, is this week be­ing re­moved af­ter an en­gi­neer’s re­port deemed it to be too un­safe and at risk of “cat­a­strophic fail­ure”.

A re­port on the is­sue, which will be made avail­able to the pub­lic, is be­ing pre­pared for the first or­di­nary meet­ing of the new coun­cil fol­low­ing next month’s elec­tion.

Al­though the bridge had been bar­ri­caded to the pub­lic for sev­eral months, last week’s an­nounce­ment was met with anger by many shire res­i­dents.

Port Dou­glas man Michael John­ston, who en­joyed fish­ing at the for­mer bridge with his grand­chil­dren, said re­mov­ing the wooden struc­ture was only cre­at­ing an­other safety risk for an­glers and cu­ri­ous crocodilespot­ters.

“Did they re­alise what it meant for lo­cal fish­ing and tourism?” he said.

“The whole thing could have been han­dled much bet­ter.”

Coun­cil CEO Linda Cardew said the de­ci­sion to im­me­di­ately re­move the bridge was in the com­mu­nity’s best in­ter­est.

“There can be cir­cum­stances, where the over­rid­ing im­per­a­tive must be to take im­me­di­ate ac­tion to en­sure that a source of real and im­me­di­ate dan­ger to the com­mu­nity is ren­dered safe, with­out de­lay,” she said.

Coun­cil­lor Terry Melchert, who ob­jected to the ex­ec­u­tive de­ci­sion, said he would move a mo­tion at next week’s coun­cil meet­ing to de­ter­mine whether a re­place­ment plat­form could be built.

Dou­glas Shire mayor Ju­lia Leu said she sup­ported re­build­ing the plat­form as a cap­i­tal works pro­ject.

“Of course, I am as dis­ap­pointed as ev­ery­one that the bridge had to be re­moved, fol­low­ing the ad­vice that the plat­form was at risk of cat­a­strophic fail­ure,” she said.

Work­ers be­gin dis­man­tling the Old Mow­bray Bridge, south of Port Dou­glas, af­ter a re­port by an en­gi­neer deemed the wooden struc­ture too un­safe.

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