Corowa Shire Mayor Fred Longmire has called for a stop to alleged abuse and intimidation between community members during the ongoing bridge debate.RACHEAL WILLETT June 11, 2014 4:05pm
In a statement following community consultation sessions in Mulwala last week, Cr Longmire said he was very disappointed at the approach being taken by some individuals with strong views about the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge.
“My concern is that residents are being intimidated (with) abuse that is not acceptable,” Cr Longmire said.
“People are also being misinformed. It is very undemocratic to accuse people of somehow being less important than those with a different opinion.”
Cr Longmire said concerns were raised following an incident in Mulwala during the most recent round of VicRoads community consultation.
“In a recent incident a long standing community member was belittled for voicing an opinion while attending a VicRoads presentation in Mulwala,” he said.
“Council is aware this sort of behaviour has been occurring and believes it needs to stop.
“These behaviours are not appropriate and can only cause harm to harmonious relationships and causing divisions in the community.”
Cr Longmire said every resident should be comfortable in having their opinion heard during the latest round of VicRoads community consultation.
“VicRoads is undertaking an extensive consultation program to gauge real community opinion and to allow the less vocal members of the community to be professionally informed,” he said.
“Council is confident VicRoads has the community interest in mind and fully considered all of the planning information.”
Cr Longmire said he felt Corowa Shire was being portrayed “very unreasonably” by some as a result of having an informed opinion.
“This is often part of public life and council fully respects different views however not the personal attacks on decent local people,” he said.
Corowa Shire Council General Manager Chris Gillard shared Cr Longmire’s concerns.
“When people will look back on the debate I want the community to know the Corowa Shire Council acted with good conscience, strategically and with integrity,” Mr Gillard said.
Both Councillor Longmire and Mr Gillard reaffirmed Corowa Shire Council’s position on the matter and said they would let the authorities determine an outcome on the new bridge crossing.
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