Next steps in bridge battle

October 04, 2017

Moira Shire Council will start ‘knocking on doors’ of local and state government representatives armed with the information that the bulk of the community want the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge built on the green route, according to Mayor Gary Cleveland.

Mayor Cleveland spoke to the Yarrawonga Chronicle after the council added a late item at the September 27 ordinary meeting to thank the community for their participation in the Yarrawonga Mulwala Bridge Plebiscite and note the official result delivered by the Victorian Electoral Commission.

He said the next step would be to prepare a brief for the councillors to consider at an upcoming meeting with a view to using the plebiscite result to further the bridge cause.

“We will work on putting together an outline of where we want to go next and start putting things into action,” he said.

“Part of that will be making sure we inform the new councillors on the other side of the river (Federation Council) of the result in favour of the green route and also letting state government politicians know as well.

“We will be telling them that the result has given us a clear indication of what the people of Yarrawonga want and hope that they are prepared to listen.

“It will be good to speak with the new faces of Federation Council and get a view of what their opinion is on the bridge.”

The Victorian Electoral Commission sent out 8824 ballot packs to residents in the 3730 and 3728 postcodes asking them to vote for their preferred route for the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge – either the green route (sitting alongside current weir crossing) or the grey route (sitting directly alongside the existing traffic bridge).

Of the 4970 ballots returned, 3159 voted in favour of the green route, 968 voted in favour of the grey route.

There were 843 informal votes received by the VEC.

Mayor Cleveland said council was pleased so many people had participated in the plebiscite which was a non-compulsory vote.

“In comparison to other votes of this kind to have as many ballots returned as we did is a great result,” he said.

“People didn’t have to vote but a lot of people chose to and that was very pleasing. It gives an indication that people are serious about this issue.

“The plebiscite vote did exactly what we as a council hoped it would do – deliver a clear message about what the people of Yarrawonga want and its clear they want the green route.”

At the September 27 Moira Shire Council meeting, Cr Wendy Buck said “communities, agencies, media and lobby groups all provided information and views, I feel there was a vast amount of information available”.

Cr Ed Cox said, “the community of Yarrawonga Mulwala must be extremely frustrated, this whole process has been playing out and playing out over a considerable number of years now”.

“We are consistently asked ‘when are we going to build the bridge?’- it’s pretty simple.

“I’d just like to thank the community of Yarrawonga for their determination because I know at times it has been very frustrating.

“And can I just reassure them that they aren’t going to get a bridge tomorrow but I know this plebiscite is a step in the right direction and I just hope that the powers that be take note of this and move in the right direction.”

Cr Peter Mansfield was direct in his assessment of the plebiscite result.

“The people have spoken and hopefully the powers that be take note of the people and their views on which bridge route should be used,” he said.

“We need to convince the powers that be to reassess it – take another look at it – and decide on the route that the community really needs.”

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