Council says no to bridge calls
IT'S more than a year since Mt Morgan's historic swinging bridge came crashing down, but the row over how to replace it continues to make waves.
Councillors yesterday voted to build an interpretive memorial to the unique wooden structure but ignored calls to construct a new bridge over the River Dee in its place.
They were told that 79% of residents in the town who responded to a council survey wanted a new bridge.
But Cr Sandra O'Brien argued that only 11% of the population had bothered to respond and it was clear to her from other meetings that most people wanted money invested in other projects instead.
And her colleagues rejected a proposal to invite a delegation from the Mt Morgan Heritage Preservation Group to put the case for a new bridge.
The group's president, David Tank, stormed out of the meeting, angrily complaining that the wishes of the community had been ignored.
Speaking immediately after the decision he said the survey was poorly written and promoted and the outcome would upset many residents in the town.
"I think there will be people throughout the region who will view this decision with a great deal of cynicism and dismay.
But we won't just walk away. Heritage is an important issue and I am sure it will feature in the next council election."
The group had been denied an opportunity, he said, to address councillors on a plan to form a charitable trust that would raise funds at minimal cost to ratepayers.
Cr O'Brien said the survey was open for public comment for five weeks and it was clear from the lack of response that the community had moved on.
Meetings had indicated the community would prefer funds for the development, maintenance and improvement of community infrastructure and facilities, she said. "In particular a heated pool for exercise and hydrotherapy."