Letters to the Editor

August 30, 2017

The Yarrawonga Chronicle received several letters this week regarding the Moira Shire Council Yarrawonga Mulwala Bridge Plebiscite and VicRoads Yarrawonga Mulwala Bridge Newsletter.
The information and opinions included in the letters are attributed solely to the letter writers.

Vote green route (option one)

Quite remarkable that just before the shire’s plebiscite, Yarrawonga residents receive the first and probably the last ‘Yarrawonga Mulwala Bridge Newsletter’ from VicRoads and the Victorian Government, arguably in an attempt to justify the government’s decision about the future bridge route.
Interestingly there is no mention that in 2014, the former Victorian Coalition Government announced the green route as the best route for the bridge.
In listing the ‘constraints’ which lead to the current government’s decision to reject the green route, the first and presumably the most important one listed in the newsletter is that the green route ‘… does not provide a pedestrian/cycling loop…’
For a bridge that will service our communities for another 100 years, is this the most important reason they can find to reject the green route?
The newsletter identifies one of the benefits of the grey route as ‘(it) removes through-traffic and reduces congestion in Belmore Street’.
With the development of Yarrawonga increasingly extending east of Belmore Street, drivers heading to the golf club for golf, bowls, croquet, movies, work or socialising will enter Belmore Street to access the bridge.
Most of these drivers now cross Belmore Street, not drive down it.
If the grey route is implemented, the old bridge will be demolished.
With the green route, there is a strong likelihood that the bridge will be saved.
This bridge is iconic to Yarrawonga/Mulwala and its retention will make it available for use by pedestrians, cyclists and for other tourist attractions.   
The green route (option one) is without question, the best route for the future of our towns.    

Josephine Anwin.

Vote for the existing bridge route

The bridge alignment plebiscite forms arrived in my post box today (Friday, August, 25).
I have a few comments.
Firstly, the “facts” page asks and answers the question; “Who decides the bridge route?”
This is misleading, giving voters the impression the bridge alignment is still up for decision.
The bridge alignment has been decided.
In November 2015, the Victorian Government chose the existing bridge route and the past tense should have been used by the VEC in their Q&A.
Secondly, the old bridge is to be demolished regardless of the route.
This should be listed as a “highlight” under both options, not just for the existing bridge, option 2.
Thirdly, I cannot make out how aligning the “…road and rail freight corridor” is a highlight?
There’s approximately 250 metres of road difference between the options, between where the alignments diverge and where they meet up.
Looks like they’re struggling for highlights.
And lastly, there seems to be an implication made in the plebiscite form that only the weir route keeps the top end of Belmore Street available as a tourism precinct.
Another error.
The western side of the current bridge, on the Yarrawonga side of the lake, is almost exclusively private residences.
The eastern side has the skate park, lawns, toilets, sunshades, water feature, kiosk, seats, walking track, foreshore market precinct and cruise boats.
That’s the tourism precinct and it will not be affected.
In fact, it may be enhanced with greater pedestrian freedom around the lake front near Hunt Street, as vehicle access will be restricted.
I strongly recommend you vote for the existing bridge route.

Peter Bennett.

Stick to the green route

Whilst having due respect for the people who prefer the grey route, I cannot stress too much the importance of getting this bridge replacement in the right place for future generations.
Consider the traffic that will use it in the not too distant future. Wider and bigger machinery, b-triple trucks and then the road trains, fuel trailers, trucks with explosives and so on.
The only route that will take this traffic away from our main street is the green one.
To think taking this traffic into the centre of Yarrawonga and then Mulwala is a no-brainer.
We live in a wonderful town which in the future will no doubt be a city.
So we must convince all concerned and VicRoads that the green route is the only one to consider.
We will only get one shot at this.

Bill Church.

Message to voters re Moira Shire Bridge Plebiscite

Note – the recently circulated VicRoads Brochure showed a back page photo of Yarrawonga prior to 2006.
There was no Woods Point, no primary school and no Silverwoods.  
Also page 1 states the Traffic Origin and Destination survey was from 2010 or prior,  
As you are aware Yarrawonga Mulwala has developed significantly since then e.g. Woolworths, Silverwoods, Bunnings, to name a few.  
The demographics are vastly different now and we want a Bridge to cater for the future, not one built on out of date and now wrong assumptions.
Some Points:
Grey route;
- Must have land acquired at an extra cost.
- Bridge head is on a known Aboriginal burial site.
- Bridge construction would vastly effect traffic flow Yarrawonga-Mulwala and affect the trade of the Clubs and commerce
- Visitor Information Centre and the old Customs House would be gone.
- Iconic old bridge would be gone.
- No allowance for vehicle of the future e.g. A Doubles, B Triples, farm machinery.
- No room for extra lanes
- Foreshore would be divided and tourism hub lost.
- Bridge access to Belmore Street would be direct – but to Mulwala cannot be accessed and traffic would have to be diverted e.g. Via Witt Street to roundabout or along Piper Street to Irvine Parade.
- Bridge end of Belmore Street would be congested and a dangerous goods risk
- Irvine Parade properties would be devalued and possibly devalue other properties.
- All this at a greater cost to us all.
Green route;
- No land acquisition necessary
- No known Aboriginal issues
- No effect on current traffic flows
- Visitor Centre and old Customs House would remain
- Foreshore remains as developing public space – not cut off by main thoroughfare – and could still be used for markets, Aquazone etc.
- Access to Belmore Street by a number of streets, better parking and shopping.
- Iconic old bridge can be saved for the future
- New Bridge can be upgraded in future i.e. two lanes to four lanes
- Large vehicles out of the top end of Belmore Street
- Allows for the future bypass of Mulwala
- Better access to the Clubs and Thales
- Less Cost and quicker to build.                        
Think of the future -Vote Green 1, Grey    2.
Remember – you must put a number in both boxes

Doug and Dianne Evans.

Re: Yarrawonga Mulwala Bridge Newsletter

Whilst the newsletter (inserted in the Yarrawonga Chronicle, August 23) provided a summary of planning studies and a comparison of benefits of Grey B and Green routes, it was sadly lacking in a number of areas.
(1)  Costing of each option.
(2)  Impact on commercial and residential properties adjacent to the Grey Route B option.
(3)  Comparison of benefits.
Other than the walking/cycling loop, all other benefits attributed to the Grey B route can apply equally to the Green route.
It is incorrect that the Grey B route provides the shortest travel route for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles between Melbourne and Belmore streets.
The common measurement points are; Yarrawonga - where route B joins Irvine Parade (old Police Station), Mulwala - where Gulai Street intersects with Melbourne Street.  Measured from these points the Green route is marginally shorter.
(4)  Oversize Vehicles. At present these vehicles detour around the main commercial centre of Mulwala.
The Green route allows for a future detour of oversize vehicles along the Benalla-Oaklands railway alignment.
(5)  There is no mention of traffic management while the Grey B option is built parallel to the existing bridge. This construction will not be completed in months, but years. Traffic management will be complicated, even horrendous.
Are all vehicles to travel down Belmore Street during this period, considering the announcement that the weir crossing will be closed at the end of 2020?
The residents of Yarrawonga and Mulwala deserve more comprehensive details, so that they can make an informed decision on the preferred route.

Doug Ringholt.

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