BRIDGE DI­VIDE

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Alex Treacy alex.treacy@cnbtimes.com.au

EIDSVOLD res­i­dents say they have reached the end of their pa­tience wait­ing for re­pairs to a foot­bridge over Hark­ness Bound­ary Creek, which has been deemed un­safe to cross for three years.

But they will have to wait a bit longer as the North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil awaits the re­sults of an ap­pli­ca­tion for a state govern­ment grant.

But, de­spite the coun­cil say­ing the foot­bridge run­ning be­side the Bur­nett High­way is closed to the pub­lic, only the most de­te­ri­o­rated sec­tion of the bridge, which vis­i­bly sags un­der­foot, is marked with con­struc­tion fenc­ing and res­i­dents were still us­ing it when the Times vis­ited.

The coun­cil en­cour­ages res­i­dents to use the foot­bridge near the Eidsvold Bowls Club, but for res­i­dents ac­cess­ing the skate park, football fields or Eidsvold Show­grounds, this rep­re­sents a lengthy de­tour.

Va­lerie Pashalis, who says her Wed­nes­day morning so­cial cof­fee club has been con­cerned about the bridge for some time, de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as “re­ally ter­ri­ble”.

She feels “some­one’s go­ing to get killed” while us­ing the nar­row shoul­ders on the neigh­bour­ing Bur­nett High­way as a cross­ing.

Mary Roth agrees with Mrs Pashalis.

“You’re gam­bling with your life,” Ms Roth said.

“It’s been a long-drawn-out af­fair... some­thing needs to be done.”

Deb­bra O’Rourke said the foot­bridge rep­re­sented a drown­ing hazard, if it were to give way while some­one was cross­ing.

Coun­cil­lor Peter Web­ster, who at­tended the Aus­tralia Day protest at the bridge along­side nearly 20 res­i­dents, said the coun­cil and res­i­dents were on the same page.

“We all want the same thing, we want the damn bridge fixed,” he said.

How­ever, he said that the more than $50,000 quoted to re­pair the bridge, rep­re­sent­ing about one per cent of the coun­cil’s an­nual bud­get, was un­able to be funded uni­lat­er­ally, which was why the coun­cil had ap­plied for a Cy­cling In­fra­struc­ture Pro­gram grant on Jan­uary 18 to fund 100 per cent of the re­pairs to the de­cayed deck­ing.

The coun­cil has been told by the Depart­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads the grant’s out­come “may be known by March but (they) could not say so for cer­tain”.

The coun­cil pre­vi­ously claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the foot­bridge lay with the depart­ment, ac­cord­ing to a re­sponse to a ser­vice re­quest seen by the Times dated Au­gust 8, 2018, but now ac­cepts the foot­bridge falls un­der the coun­cil’s scope of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties af­ter the depart­ment de­clined to fund re­pairs.

If the grant ap­pli­ca­tion is un­suc­cess­ful, the coun­cil says it will con­sider fund­ing the re­pairs in its 2019/20 bud­get.

PHOTO: ALEX TREACY

FED UP: Lo­cals are wor­ried some­one may end up in Hark­ness Bound­ary Creek if some­thing isn’t done soon about the de­cay­ing foot­bridge.

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