Bloom­field Bridge: the ex­pen­sive go­rilla on the back of DSC ratepay­ers

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -


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.

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