Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Letter outlines call to fast-forward bridge plans

A December 18 letter from Committee for Echuca-Moama chief executive Hayden Cock to Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy calls for plans for a second Echuca-Moama bridge to be expedited.

December 19, 2012 4:12am

Committee for Echuca-Moama chairman Jim Cosgriff and CEO Hayden Cock (right) urged residents to attend a rally in support of a second Echuca-Moama bridge in June.

The Committee for Echuca Moama wants to see a planning panel set up to assess the impacts of second Echuca-Moama bridge waived to get the bridge built quicker.

The following is a transcript of the full letter from Committee for Echuca-Moama chief executive Hayden Cock to Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy, dated December 18:

Dear Minister,

The Committee for Echuca Moama (C4EM) is a member-based, self-funding, independent and apolitical organisation that brings together a broad cross-section of Echuca Moama’s private, public and not-for-profit organisations across all sectors.

C4EM’s primary role is to advocate for the issues and initiatives that will make Echuca Moama a better place to live, work and play.

A key priority for C4EM, and the overwhelming majority of people from Echuca Moama and surrounds, is the building of the much-needed second bridge.

In June this year, C4EM organised a public rally to show the community’s support for a second bridge and over 2000 people attended the rally.

Following the rally, and while launching C4EM’s Strategic Plan, the (then) Acting Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development, the Hon Peter Ryan MP said ‘‘… we will build the damn thing, be assured.’’ (Riverine Herald, July 11, 2012)

Based on recent briefings, we now understand VicRoads will soon submit to you all the relevant studies they have undertaken for the second bridge and will recommend a preferred route for the bridge.

In evaluating the options for the preferred route, there has already been extensive consultation with the community and both the Campaspe Shire on the Echuca side and Murray Shire on the Moama side have voted to support the 2B option. This has also been publicity supported by the Yorta Yorta Nation.

Given the overwhelming support for the 2B option and the extensive consultation and studies that have already been undertaken, we would urge you not to delay the planning process any further. In particular, we would request that you waive the need for a Planning Panel thus avoiding further lengthy delays around an ultimate decision of possibly up to 18 months.

It is critical that funding for the bridge is committed by the Victorian, NSW and Federal Governments as soon as possible and lengthy delays in the planning approval process will only further jeopardise the early commitment of budget funds.

Therefore, we would urge you to expedite the planning approval process to ensure that the people and communities of Echuca Moama can finally see an unequivocal financial commitment to build the second bridge – a final and binding commitment that would end nearly 50 years of discussion, debate, frustration and numerous false starts.

Yours faithfully,

Hayden Cock


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