ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT RULE OUT FUTURE BRIDGE TO OUR BAY ISLANDS.
All levels of Government have ruled out a bridge ever being built to the islands in Southern Moreton Bay.
The issue raised its head again at recent forums held on the Bay Islands by new State Member for Redlands, Kim Richards, and Federal member for Bowman, Andrew Laming.
Similarly, a cluster of pro bridge enthusiasts, have been trying to push that agenda for some time, mostly on the basis of ‘promises’ that were originally made in the days of the ‘white shoe brigade’ in the 1980’s when anything and everything was seemingly possible in Queensland.
First of all, it has to be understood that a bridge is largely the responsibility of the Queensland Government.
Division 5 Redland City Councillor Mark Edwards has shed some light on some of the history surrounding the bridge.
He told The Friendly Bay islander: “ My position is in the middle ground. When I first was elected as Councillor, I had Council adopt a position to bridge Russell Island only.
“Council took that position to the then LNP State Government who said they did not support this position and were committed to marine transport.
“When the ALP gained government, again Council asked the new government; and their position mirrored the LNP reply.
“To this date, both major political parties have taken the position that a bridge will not be considered.
“The foreshores and waterways are controlled by the State Government and not Council, so their position remains the reality.
“In the last six years, there has not been one commercial identity that has approached me with a definitive plan to build a bridge and as such it would appear that at the present population levels, the price point to make it viable is a long way off.
“Council is now focused on building the Weinam Creek infrastructure and working with stakeholders to ensure the marine transport delivers to the needs of the islands’ community.
“The idea of building a bridge will probably remain an ideal for some, however, it would appear that the prospect of a bridge is probably the most unlikely probability for the foreseeable future.
“I will be focusing my energy into improved ferry and barge transport and continue to seek options for shorter barge routes for all the islands. This I believe is the best way forward,” Cr Edwards explained.
The person with the most influence on the bridge issue is the State Member for Redlands, Kim Richards.
She definitely knocked it on the head when she was confronted with pro bridge supporters at her public forum on Russell Island.
She left no doubt in the minds of pro bridge and anti bridge supporters when she told the FBI: “I was very clear that there will be no Bridge agenda, for the reason of cost (somewhere in the vicinity of approximately $500 million plus), for a population of 4000 on an island where 50% of land is owned by the Redland City Council.
Federal Member for Bowman put it succinctly when he was asked to comment on the bridge issue.
He said: “As the only MP to put a $10 million grant on the table for a Bridge to Russell Island (for which no one made an application), I can’t foresee that happening again until there is some interest from Local and State Government.
Redland City Council Mayor, Karen Williams, had this to say on the bridge issue: “Council’s position has always been that any potential bridge to the islands is a State responsibility.
“It is not Council infrastructure; it is a State government decision, so if it’s not on the State’s agenda then it seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.”
• Bridge won’t be happening.