Next steps in bridge bat­tle

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY RACHEAL WIL­LETT

Moira Shire Coun­cil will start ‘knock­ing on doors’ of lo­cal and state gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives armed with the in­for­ma­tion that the bulk of the com­mu­nity want the new Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala bridge built on the green route, ac­cord­ing to Mayor Gary Cleve­land.

Mayor Cleve­land spoke to the Yar­ra­wonga Chron­i­cle af­ter the coun­cil added a late item at the Septem­ber 27 ordinary meet­ing to thank the com­mu­nity for their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala Bridge Plebiscite and note the official re­sult de­liv­ered by the Vic­to­rian Elec­toral Com­mis­sion.

He said the next step would be to pre­pare a brief for the coun­cil­lors to con­sider at an up­com­ing meet­ing with a view to us­ing the plebiscite re­sult to fur­ther the bridge cause.

“We will work on putting to­gether an out­line of where we want to go next and start putting things into ac­tion,” he said.

“Part of that will be mak­ing sure we in­form the new coun­cil­lors on the other side of the river (Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil) of the re­sult in favour of the green route and also let­ting state gov­ern­ment politi­cians know as well.

“We will be telling them that the re­sult has given us a clear in­di­ca­tion of what the peo­ple of Yar­ra­wonga want and hope that they are pre­pared to lis­ten.

“It will be good to speak with the new faces of Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil and get a view of what their opin­ion is on the bridge.”

The Vic­to­rian Elec­toral Com­mis­sion sent out 8824 bal­lot packs to res­i­dents in the 3730 and 3728 post­codes ask­ing them to vote for their pre­ferred route for the new Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala bridge – either the green route (sit­ting along­side cur­rent weir cross­ing) or the grey route (sit­ting di­rectly along­side the ex­ist­ing traf­fic bridge).

Of the 4970 bal­lots re­turned, 3159 voted in favour of the green route, 968 voted in favour of the grey route.

There were 843 in­for­mal votes re­ceived by the VEC.

Mayor Cleve­land said coun­cil was pleased so many peo­ple had par­tic­i­pated in the plebiscite which was a non-com­pul­sory vote.

“In com­par­i­son to other votes of this kind to have as many bal­lots re­turned as we did is a great re­sult,” he said.

“Peo­ple didn’t have to vote but a lot of peo­ple chose to and that was very pleas­ing. It gives an in­di­ca­tion that peo­ple are se­ri­ous about this issue.

“The plebiscite vote did ex­actly what we as a coun­cil hoped it would do – de­liver a clear mes­sage about what the peo­ple of Yar­ra­wonga want and its clear they want the green route.”

At the Septem­ber 27 Moira Shire Coun­cil meet­ing, Cr Wendy Buck said “com­mu­ni­ties, agen­cies, me­dia and lobby groups all pro­vided in­for­ma­tion and views, I feel there was a vast amount of in­for­ma­tion avail­able”.

Cr Ed Cox said, “the com­mu­nity of Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala must be ex­tremely frus­trated, this whole pro­cess has been play­ing out and play­ing out over a con­sid­er­able num­ber of years now”.

“We are con­sis­tently asked ‘when are we go­ing to build the bridge?’- it’s pretty sim­ple.

“I’d just like to thank the com­mu­nity of Yar­ra­wonga for their de­ter­mi­na­tion be­cause I know at times it has been very frus­trat­ing.

“And can I just re­as­sure them that they aren’t go­ing to get a bridge to­mor­row but I know this plebiscite is a step in the right di­rec­tion and I just hope that the pow­ers that be take note of this and move in the right di­rec­tion.”

Cr Peter Mans­field was di­rect in his as­sess­ment of the plebiscite re­sult.

“The peo­ple have spo­ken and hope­fully the pow­ers that be take note of the peo­ple and their views on which bridge route should be used,” he said.

“We need to con­vince the pow­ers that be to re­assess it – take an­other look at it – and de­cide on the route that the com­mu­nity re­ally needs.”

Green route.

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