SWAN Hill Rural City councillors last night voted to oppose a proposed location for a second bridge in the town.The proposed route of the 9a bridge location has sparked significant controversy in the community and became a focal point during council elections last October.
Cr Gary Norton put forward a motion in December last year to scrap the previous council's approval of the preferred bridge location but withdrew the motion when not all councillors we able to attend the council meeting.
Last night the motion was put forward again.
Two councillors left the room during the vote due to a conflict of interest and the motion was carried 3:2.
The motion seeks to oppose the 9a option which would run through the centre of the town, and looks to engage with a number of stakeholders including Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy, Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder, VicRoads, neighbouring Wakool Shire and Member for Swan Hill Peter Walsh.
The council agenda notice of motion preamble said the community had made it's opposition to 9a very clear.
"The public discussion has centred largely on the affect that the option will have on Riverside Park, traffic to the centre of the city and the impact on the Swan Hill Pool," it said.
"Whilst it has been acknowledged by the opponents of the 9a option that Swan Hill does need a replacement bridge, it is suggested that a suitable location for the replacement is a long way from decided."
Mayor Les McPhee rejected suggestions the opposition to 9a would delay a new bridge's construction further.
"It was a big election issue in October. . . majority of the community were against 9a and as representatives of the community the motion was put up at council," Cr McPhee said.
"Both sides of the debate agree that it will be a long time before we get a bridge.
"Echuca and Yarrawonga are higher on the (Government funding list) so in that time another study will need to be done for the bridge anyway.
"We need to get everyone together and try and find the best location for the bridge for the future."