Coun­cil de­bate a bridge too far

Boat own­ers an­gry af­ter Mayor rules against foot­bridge dis­cus­sion

South Western Times - - News - Kate Field­ing

A HOS­TILE crowd packed out Bun­bury City Coun­cil cham­bers on Tues­day night hop­ing for an item ad­dress­ing the rais­ing of Koom­bana Bay’s foot­bridge to be added to the agenda.

How­ever, the crowd were left dis­ap­pointed when a mo­tion put for­ward by Cr Michelle Steck to add the ur­gent mat­ter to the coun­cil’s meet­ing agenda failed to get up.

The de­bate over rais­ing the foot­bridge across The Plug has been heat­ing up, with the city’s boat­ing fra­ter­nity band­ing to­gether in a bid to con­vince the coun­cil to over­turn a de­ci­sion not to raise it.

The coun­cil in July last year voted to re­tain the height of the foot­bridge.

As about 50 peo­ple crammed into the coun­cil cham­bers on Tues­day night, Cr Steck handed over “some­where be­tween 350 and 400 let­ters” in sup­port of rais­ing the bridge.

She told the coun­cil also among the sub­mis­sions was a quote for the pro­posal and a let­ter from a real es­tate agent in re­la­tion to prop­erty val­ues.

While the doc­u­ments were ac­cepted as a pe­ti­tion, Mayor Gary Bren­nan knocked back a mo­tion for a late item to be added to the agenda in re­la­tion to the mat­ter.

“I re­ceived a copy of that at 4.40 this af­ter­noon, I don’t con­sider the mat­ter ur­gent and I’m not ac­cept­ing it,” Mr Bren­nan said.

Cr Sam Mor­ris at­tempted to over-rule Mr Bren­nan but a seven to five vote not to ac­cept the late item pre­vailed.

As a dis­grun­tled crowd left the cham­bers, mem­bers of the boat­ing fra­ter­nity ex­pressed their ir­ri­ta­tion.

“We’ll see you at the next elec­tion, or we won’t see you at the next elec­tion . . . we can play that game too,” one man yelled. An­other yelled “un­real”. Speak­ing to the South Western Times yes­ter­day Sports Marine owner Greg Col­lett said the boat­ing com­mu­nity only wanted the bridge raised by 600mm and it was a “fairly cheap” ex­er­cise.

He said the group’s cam­paign was not about al­low­ing big­ger boats into the in­let, but rather for the safety of boat own­ers.

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