State gov­ern­ment says bridge is coun­cil’s duty

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

THE own­er­ship of the Bloom­field Bridge is at an im­passe.

While the state gov­ern­ment built the bridge, the Depart­ment of Main Roads and Trans­port has told the it was wholly the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil.

The coun­cil says it has no in­ten­tion of tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for the struc­ture.

“The state gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to build a bridge to ser­vice the com­mu­nity of Wu­jal Wu­jal is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the state gov­ern­ment,” DSC chief ex­ec­u­tive Linda Cardew said.

“Dou­glas had no in­volve­ment in the de­ci­sion, the con­struc­tion or the fund­ing of the bridge. The state gov­ern­ment has re­peat­edly ad­vised coun­cils to not ac­cept un­wanted in­fra­struc­ture as a gift that im­poses an un­nec­es­sary fi­nan­cial bur­den on the coun­cil. Dou­glas has taken that ad­vice on board.”

The bridge, which was com­pleted in 2014 was given to the DSC in 2015 — some­thing the lo­cal gov­ern­ment has re­sisted since the orig­i­nal de­ci­sion, say­ing that it was too much of a fi­nan­cial bur­den on ratepay­ers to main­tain for lit­tle gain.

It had been built to re­place a level cause­way nearby that had been dam­aged by a cy­clone in 2011. The DSC did not ex­ist when the orig­i­nal cause­way was dam­aged or when it was de­cided it would be re­placed with a bridge. The Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil had re­spon­si­bil­ity of the area at the time.

The DSC says no mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing ex­isted be­tween the CRC or the DTMR re­gard­ing the bridge’s re­spon­si­bil­ity.

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