Yarrawonga residents will be asked to vote on their preferred route for the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge in August, with the finding of the Moira Shire Council plebiscite to be delivered in early October.
Moira Shire CEO Mark Henderson confirmed the Victorian Electoral Commissions (VEC) had been engaged to conduct the Yarrawonga-Mulwala Bridge Plebiscite.
He said the commission’s independence and experience was a key factor in council’s decision.
“The goal of the plebiscite is to provide a robust, independent and democratic process to confirm Yarrawonga residents’ preferred future alignment for a new Yarrawonga-Mulwala bridge,” Mr Henderson said.
“The VEC’s experience in overseeing elections and plebiscites will ensure we achieve this goal.”
In an unexpected move, Moira Shire Council raised the possibility of a localised plebiscite on the preferred route for the new bridge in February.
The decision to hold the plebiscite was made despite the fact that both the Victorian and NSW governments have already endorsed the grey route (directly alongside the existing traffic bridge) as the preferred option.
Moira Shire Council has consistently supported the green route (next to the Yarrawonga Weir crossing).
The Yarrawonga-Mulwala Bridge Plebiscite will involve ratepayers and residents in the postcode boundaries of 3730 and 3728 and include Yarrawonga, Yarrawonga South, Telford, Esmond, Boosey, Bathumi, Burramine,
Burramine South, Bundalong, Bundalong South, Boomahnoomoonah, Tungamah, Youarang and Wilby.
The plebiscite program will be conducted over four broad phases;
Confirming eligibility to vote in the plebiscite; July 5 to 27.
Community awareness campaign; July – August.
Mail out of voting packs and voting by registered voters; late August.
Close of voting; late September.
Confirmation and announcement of the result of the plebiscite; early October.
“The four phases will overlap as we work our way through to October and we will take guidance from the VEC to ensure any information and communication by council is objective and reflects confirmed decisions and facts,” Mr Henderson said.
“The first phase will commence from Wednesday (July 5) with ads in local papers asking people to confirm their eligibility to vote.
“Most eligible voters are already enrolled to vote but if you have recently relocated into the postcode boundaries of 3730 and 3728 and you haven’t updated your enrolment details or your mailing address has changed you are encouraged to contact the VEC to confirm your enrolment.
“The enrolment process is managed by the VEC – not council – and it’s important you contact the VEC to confirm your enrolment details before July 27, 2017.”
Mr Henderson told the Yarrawonga Chronicle in February council would use an allocated $20,000, originally earmarked for preparing a submission to VicRoads, to conduct the plebiscite.
He said at the time the existing $20,000 “should pretty well cover the cost”.
VicRoads confirmed recently plans to build the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge on the route chosen by the Victorian and NSW governments, the grey route, were progressing with the roads authority finalising a referral to the planning minister regarding an Environmental Effects Statement.