Time to put politics aside

IT'S time to put politics aside and concentrate on getting the funding to replace the bridge at Dyers Crossing.

That is the feeling coming from the community's residents who are tired of the "political mudslinging" around the funding issue.

On Monday, a small gathering of residents met with three Greater Taree City councillors, deputy mayor Robyn Jenkins, Trent Jennison and Peter Epov.

All the residents in attendance had a chance to speak about their concerns and see the new bridge plan.

"It was a good meeting. It wasn't political, it was just councillors talking to (the residents)," said resident Pauline Graves.

"It was different to any other one - it wasn't political. Robyn answered questions and was very, very helpful."

The previous meetings she refers to are visits by mayor Paul Hogan in January and member for Lyne David Gillespie in February to talk about the loss of $11.4 million in federal funding for council's Roads and Bridges package (in which Dyers Crossing was one of the bridges to be fixed).

"We are going to ask just for the money for Dyers Crossing bridge to be done...so we can get back our life," said Pauline

Pauline said some councillors admitted they hadn't seen Dyers Crossing bridge and she felt it was important they did prior to any vote being made about it in the future.

All councillors present agreed the bridge needed to be replaced, but Pauline said they still blamed the federal government for withdrawing the funds.

"We don't want to get into that. We just want the bridge fixed."

Pauline said no milk tankers, concrete trucks, food deliveries, garbage truck or the school bus are able to use the bridge, due to its deteriorating condition, and many are now starting to refuse to deliver because of the extra mileage to go the long way around.

Residents have also previously raised the dangerous state of the bridge and their concerns about the safety of users.

Pauline said the councillors were "astounded" to hear from resident Colleen Patten-Bird, who advised them she had to sign a disclaimer with council to allow her to have her garbage bins picked up on the other side of the bridge now the garbage truck can't cross it.

Residents also raised the differing information on signage in relation to the width of vehicles able to use the bridge - the flashing sign indicates two metres, while a smaller sign indicates 2.2 metres.

Pauline said the discussion was "worthwhile" and "productive in a way" and the next step is to approach "anyone and everyone we can" to get the money for the bridge.

"As individuals we will be writing to whoever we can".

Pauline said she had written to federal and State leaders on the issue, something she has never done before.

The estimated cost of replacing Dyers Crossing bridge is $2.1 million.

An investigation, survey, design and cost estimates have already been completed.

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