There’s a reason people were frustrated at bridge meeting
The letter, Shouting’s not going to resolve issue – but quiet consultation can (POST, November 3), did not mention the issues that contributed to the frustration of many of the people at the Main Roads public meeting on October 24 about replacing the Swanbourne railway bridge.
There is no question that calmer approaches are much more effective, however Main Roads also needs to be accountable and perhaps even address some of its actions.
First off, the flyers advising of this public consultation were delivered to Nedlands residents and not those of the immediately affected areas, which helped create some negative views from key residents from the outset.
Second, the presentation by Main Roads focused more on why the existing bridge needed to be removed and less on what the attendees were worried about – increased traffic and other impacts.
After advising the attendees that they had limited time, Main Roads representatives threw up several slides showing complex engineering drawings of the old bridge foundations (even if there were structural engineers in the crowd, you couldn’t see the tiny details anyway).
As these ineffective slides were shown, it was clear that the frustration levels were increasing.
Once again, calmer consultations are much more effective, but it needs to be highlighted that there were some underlying issues that contributed to attendees’ frustration.