It was disgraceful and insulting to councillors for the mayor to inform the meeting on 12 September that the submission about the proposed Batemans Bay bridge which was before council for its acceptance, had already been delivered to the RMS because of time limitations. What rot! If our council can't organise itself under such simple circumstances, what hope do we have?
The submission to the RMS that can again be made but now with the majority of councillors’ belated approval, acknowledges a considerable number of unanswered problems with the early design of the new bridge including a significantly lower height for vessels than the current open span allows, no access to or from Clyde Street to the highway, restricted vehicle access under the bridge to the western end of Clyde Street, unclear means of access to the bridge for pedestrians, cyclists and people with disabilities, questions of how buses - local and long distance - will be accommodated in the necessary traffic revamping around the Bay's CBD, the disturbances to underground utilities, the potential relocation of parks, toilet blocks, boat ramps and trailer parking facilities and on and on the list goes.
You would have thought that the RMS would have been long working with council and engaging with the community and stakeholders to have developed solutions by now - they must have been aware of these potential hitches for some time, if not by their own experience then by heads ups from the community and council,
While there's no suggestion that the RMS would not follow through responsibly, the deferment motion had lots of merit to allow time for the RMS to better determine the stakeholders needs and wishes and for council - and even our local member - to be made aware of what the RMS has in mind – and who is to foot the bill! - before any submission which could at a later stage be misinterpreted, and quoted back, as an endorsement of how things stand at this uncertain point in the planning process.
Let's hope some sanity prevails and we get the bridge that we, and at least the next couple of generations, deserve.
Jeff de Jager