Bloomfield Bridge: the expensive gorilla on the back of DSC ratepayers
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The rejection kicked off years of negotiations between the council, DTMR and even the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning which entered the fray recently to help resolve the issue.
“(Douglas Shire Council) has informed the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DILGP) that it will not take ownership and ongoing operation responsibility of the Bloomfield Bridge,” DSC chief executive Linda Cardew recently told the .
When approached for comment, a DTMR spokesman was short and sharp. “The bridge over Bloomfield River is located on a local government road and is under the jurisdiction of Douglas Shire Council,” they said.
“As the local government authority, council is responsible for the ongoing management of the road, including the bridge structure as per the Local Government Act 2009.”
According to Ms Cardew, the council is relying on the previous and current state governments own directives to local governments not to accept unwanted infrastructure in fighting the department of Transport and Main Roads, which constructed the bridge.
“A core message of both governments is that a council should not accept unwanted infrastructure, promoted as a “gift” – that is, infrastructure funded and constructed by others that the council does not need, does not want or cannot afford to own and maintain,” said Ms Cardew.
According to Ms Cardew DSC ratepayers did not receive enough benefit to justify adding the $12 million bridge to the council’s assets, saying it was for the benefit of Wujal Wujal and Cook shires.
“While council is committed to working in partnership with our neighbouring shires … the cost of Douglas Shire assuming ownership of the Bloomfield Bridge is not justified or rational,” said Ms Cardew.