Cr Stephen Schwarten and Dave Swindells near one of the proposed sites for a bridge over the Fitzroy River.
Cr Stephen Schwarten and Dave Swindells near one of the proposed sites for a bridge over the Fitzroy River. Allan Reinikka

Resident left in legal limbo

A STUDY which investigates the future Bruce Highway transport needs for Rockhampton that was due to be completed mid-2011, is causing stress to residents.

Rockhampton Regional Council's Division 7 councillor Stephen Schwarten said people like Dave Swindells of Alexandra St had been affected by the long wait for the Fitzroy River Floodplain and Road Planning Study, otherwise known as the Yeppen Floodplain Study.

It is being drawn up to investigate long-term solutions for Bruce Hwy flooding, freight, road and rail transport impacts in and around Rockhampton.

However, The Morning Bulletin was advised by a spokesman from Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese's office that the report would be released in the coming weeks.

"Mr Swindells had offered his property for sale and a contract had lapsed because of the lack of certainty regarding the future route of the Bruce Highway," Cr Schwarten said.

It is speculated that one of the favoured options is to build a third bridge across the Fitzroy River adjacent to Mr Swindell's property in Alexandra St, but there has been no confirmation of this.

"My inquiries reveal that the $5 million study commissioned by the Federal Government has been completed and it is now in the Federal Government's hands," Cr Schwarten said.

Mr Swindells said he wanted an answer.

"I know the road has got to go somewhere but while this report sits in Canberra gathering dust I cannot put my property on the market, nor can I redevelop it. It's a real no-man's-land."

Cr Schwarten said there was no reason that the preferred route could not be released.

"What is the hold-up? The experts have been paid $5 million, all sorts of public consultation has happened so I do not know what the hold-up is."

Cr Schwarten has written to Federal Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore asking her to intervene in the matter.

"Surely it is reasonable to bring these publicly-funded expert recommendations into the public domain so that Mr Swindells and his neighbour can get on with their lives."



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