Lifting bridge ‘a win for everyone’
MONTHS of lobbying and heated discussion came to an emotional end on Tuesday night when Bunbury City Council took nearly an hour to debate the final height of the Koombana Bay footbridge.
After four passionate deputations – including one from Bunbury MLA Don Punch – and animated arguments from councillors which prompted a warning from Mayor Gary Brennan for respect in the chambers, the council voted 10-2 in favour of raising the bridge by 1400mm.
The decision follows a strong push from the boating fraternity and cash and in-kind support to the tune of $140,000 from community members and businesses to raise the structure.
The move will cost about $500,000 and will push the completion date to January 31.
A vocal advocate to raise the bridge, boating leader Noel Seymour said the community welcomed the decision and the move would benefit the whole city.
“We obviously think it’s going to be a good success for the city of Bunbury, not only for boating but for tourists and as an entry statement,” Mr Seymour said.
“It really was a great last-minute effort of the community working together. It wouldn’t have happened without those who offered to financially support it.”
Acting chief executive officer Mal Osborne will now negotiate with Bunbury Yacht Club, Piacentini & Son and Halifax Crane Hire over offers of cash and material donations.
Mr Seymour also acknowledged the council and Mr Brennan had followed the “due process” and said it was a “good result”.
The final decision was eventually made after a motion to keep the bridge at its existing height was voted down five to seven.
It is expected the balance of the cost will be covered through unallocated interest received from grant funds invested for the project, project contingencies remaining at the end of the project and the balance from the Asset Management and Renewal Reserve.
Mr Brennan said yesterday the council had made a “pragmatic” decision and would now get on with the project. A service footbridge over the storm surge gates in The Plug will also be raised by the Department of Transport.