A PLANNING panel for a second Echuca-Moama bridge looks set to go ahead despite a push to scrap it due to the amount of time it would take.Echuca-Moama advocacy group C4EM is understood to have asked Campaspe Shire Council to write to Planning Minister Matthew Guy requesting the need for a panel be waived.
Council rejected the call at a meeting last night.
Mayor Ian Maddison said given the historically controversial nature of the bridge and the 50-year battle for a new one, transparency and public participation was fundamental to the project.
"The issue of a second river crossing has been on the agenda for many decades so it would be unwise to rush through such a critical stage of the planning process at the expense of the community having its final say on the matter," Cr Maddison said.
"It would be a shame to hit the last hurdle and fall.”
Last week, neighbouring NSW municipality Murray Shire Council also rejected C4EM's proposal.
Cr Maddison said although the council did not support the push to scrap the planning panel, it did agree with C4EM's calls for the process to move as "expeditiously as possible."
"Council supports the intent of C4EM's direction to obtain a fast resolution to the second bridge planning process; however, if a planning panel is waived, the most accessible opportunity for the community to participate will be removed," he said.
"This will mean that community members, groups and other stakeholders who wish to express views will not be able to do so in a public forum, nor be privy to the views of others.
"Council remains committed to progressing this important community project and will increase its advocacy for funding commitments from the state and federal governments."