Coun­cil seek­ing bridge an­swers

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY ROBERT MUIR

Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil is to en­gage with VicRoads, and Roads and Mar­itime Ser­vices NSW re­gard­ing the sub­stan­tially re­duced pri­or­ity rat­ing for a new Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala Traf­fic Bridge.

Coun­cil is also to spend an es­ti­mated $30,000 to have the Mul­wala com­mu­nity sur­veyed to de­ter­mine their pre­ferred bridge align­ment for the new bridge.

The ac­tion be­ing taken by Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil was de­cided at its monthly meet­ing on Septem­ber 18. A pri­vate firm will un­der­take the sur­vey as soon as pos­si­ble.

“Two state gov­ern­ments, two road author­i­ties want the grey route. Only the Moira Shire has dug their heels in. But I fully sup­port a sur­vey or ple­ble­cite which is not bind­ing,” Cr Fred Long­mire said.

Cr Gail Law re­ferred to a let­ter writ­ten by Yar­ra­wonga res­i­dent Peter Bennett which strongly rec­om­mended the grey route, as did she.

Both Crs Long­mire and Law ap­peared set to re­ject the sur­vey part of the mo­tion but voted for the sur­vey. “Let’s bring it to a con­clu­sion,” Cr Long­mire urged fel­low coun­cil­lors.

With the clo­sure of the weir bridge in 2020, Cr Bron­wyn Thomas re­ferred to the Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala bridge be­ing the sole bridge from 2020 and the need to have the com­plete sur­vey - not only Yar­ra­wonga peo­ple, but also Mul­wala res­i­dents.

Deputy Mayor Shaun Whitechurch to­tally en­dorsed the sur­vey. Know­ing the di­vi­sion within the com­mu­nity over the pro­posed grey and green routes, he said coun­cil could have a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to make, with the pos­si­bil­ity of coun­cil go­ing against the sur­vey re­sult and asked Mayor Pat Bourke what would hap­pen if that sce­nario even­tu­ated.

“It would have to come back to coun­cil for fur­ther dis­cus­sion and for coun­cil to make a rec­om­men­da­tion,” the mayor said. The Yar­ra­wonga Chron­i­cle be­lieves that with the new Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil, pref­er­ence by coun­cil­lors, at this stage, is for a 5:4 green route.

Cr An­drew Kennedy said: “We want to sur­vey the com­mu­nity to see what they want. The way it’s go­ing we won’t get a bridge.

“Not ev­ery­one in Yar­ra­wonga was sur­veyed. Let’s hope it’s all done prop­erly.”

Cr Norm Wales said: “There are def­i­nite plusses for both routes.”

Im­me­di­ate past mayor of Corowa Shire Coun­cil, Cr Paul Miegel, said the grey route was coun­cil’s Corowa Shire’s pre­ferred op­tion, re­it­er­at­ing the op­tion has been ac­cepted by all ex­cept Moira Shire.

He con­sid­ered a sur­vey would be a waste of money. “Fur­ther pro­cras­ti­na­tion will cer­tainly de­fer a new bridge,” Cr Miegel said. “We should lobby to build the bridge ur­gently. VicRoads did all the data, sur­veys and traf­fic counts.

“We want a new bridge. We can’t wait for a 10-year gap be­tween bridges. Let’s get com­mit­ment to fund­ing.”

Cr Miegel said re­gard­less of any sur­vey re­sult, the de­ci­sion still lies with the state gov­ern­ments. “All we are, are mi­nor role play­ers. We should ac­cept the um­pire’s de­ci­sion,” he said and voted against the mo­tion of Crs An­drew Kennedy and Shaun Whitechurch for the sur­vey.

In his re­port tabled at coun­cil’s meet­ing, Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil’s Gen­eral Man­ager Adrian But­ler said that coun­cil staff would en­gage with VicRoads and RMS to as­cer­tain the po­si­tion on the in­vest­ment pri­or­ity re­port.

“It is clearly not ac­cept­able to have the bridge at least 10 years away, given the clo­sure of the weir bridge in 2020,” he said.

“The po­si­tion of the routes also needs to be re­solved and both the roads author­i­ties need to be ques­tioned as to if they have any in­tent to re­visit the route is­sue.

“Should coun­cil wish to sur­vey the Mul­wala com­mu­nity, this should oc­cur shortly in or­der to ad­dress that is­sue and con­tinue lob­by­ing for the bridge con­struc­tion and strate­gic plan­ning for the al­ter­na­tive route and fore­shore de­vel­op­ments.”

Moira Shire Coun­cil’s unan­i­mously pre­ferred route is the Green Route. The pre­vi­ous Corowa Shire Coun­cil, prior to amal­ga­ma­tion with Urana Shire Coun­cil, was unan­i­mously in favour of the Grey Route which is the route, Yar­ra­wonga Chron­i­cle un­der­stands, still be­ing planned for by both state road author­i­ties and gov­ern­ments.

Four coun­cil­lors on Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil were coun­cil­lors in Corowa Shire – Crs Paul Miegel, a past mayor Fred Long­mire, Cr Gail Law and Cr Norm Wales.

All con­firmed their se­lec­tion of the grey route yes­ter­day, ex­cept Cr Wales who elab­o­rated to the Yar­ra­wonga Chron­i­cle on the com­ment he made to coun­cil. He said he now prefers the green route to al­low for “a big­ger by­pass, to see more of the lake”. Cr David Lon­g­ley was ab­sent from last week’s meet­ing.

As re­ported in last week’s Yar­ra­wonga Chron­i­cle, un­der the head­ing of ‘Nightmare on Bel­more Street’, a re­port rec­om­mends the fur­ther de­lay of the bridge and new road limit on the Bur­ley Road chan­nel.

Ac­cord­ing to a Mur­ray River Cross­ing In­vest­ment Pri­or­ity As­sess­ment re­port, the Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala bridge will not be built be­fore other bridges in­clud­ing those at Too­ley­buc, Swan Hill, Towong and work on the John Fo­ord Bridge at Corowa/Wah­gun­yah.

It means any new bridge for Yar­ra­wonga Mul­wala could be at least 10 years away. As has been stated for sev­eral years, the weir bridge is to be closed to all traf­fic in 2020.

Cr Thomas asked if the weir bridge would be closed in 2020 to pedes­tri­ans as well as ve­hi­cles. Mr But­ler said he would ob­tain the an­swer but guessed it would be closed to pedes­tri­ans.

A spokesper­son from Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin Com­mis­sion stated re­cently that the au­thor­ity is plan­ning to main­tain pedes­trian and cy­cle ac­cess on the weir bridge from 2020.

Sneaker thieves on the run

Two males and a fe­male acted to­gether to steal five pairs of Nike run­ners worth $570 from Win­gates Sports store in Bel­more Street last week. One of the males picked up the shoes in or­ange boxes and ran from the shop last Mon­day, Septem­ber 17. He was de­scribed as 18 to 30-years-old with short shaved hair and was wear­ing dark cloth­ing. The male ac­com­plice was 35 to 40-years-old wear­ing light coloured jeans and was de­scribed as hav­ing big ears. The fe­male was 40 to 50-years-old with long red curly hair, a nose ring and was wear­ing dark tights.

Po­lice at­ten­dance

Mem­bers of the com­mu­nity are re­minded to call 000 for po­lice at­ten­dance. For gen­eral ad­vice check the Vic­to­ria Po­lice web­site at www.po­lice.vic.gov.au or call your lo­cal po­lice. Any­one with in­for­ma­tion in re­la­tion to any offence can con­tact their lo­cal po­lice or Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000. Or sub­mit a con­fi­den­tial crime re­port at www.crimestop­persvic. com.au

Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil­lor Paul Miegel is afraid that fur­ther pro­cras­ti­na­tion will cer­tainly de­fer a new bridge.

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