Oyster Channel a pearler
By TOBY WALKER
ABOUT this time last year, the Premier of New South Wales Bob Carr was in Yamba to turn the first sod of dirt on the Oyster Channel Bridge to signal the commencement of bridgeworks.
Things have changed somewhat for both Mr Carr and the bridge since then.
From Wednesday Mr Carr will no longer be premier and the Oyster Channel Bridge is wider.
Yesterday, some of the people who worked tirelessly to see the job completed expressed their delight to see the bridge now made safer for all who used it.
Clarence Valley Council floodplain manager Ian Dinham first raised the danger of the narrow bridge in 1989 when he worked as an engineer for the Maclean Shire Council.
Although discussions began with the Roads and Traffic Authority, the plans were left to languish until Mr Dinham resurrected the issue again when he was elected to the Maclean council in 2000.
From that point on community support, particularly from Yamba resident Gary Whale and the Oyster Channel Bridge Committee, helped give the issue prominence and even make it a bi-partisan election promise from both local candidates during the 2003 State elections.
"I didn't want to let it go because it was such a dangerous situation for the school buses crossing the bridge each day," Mr Dinham said.
"It would only take a sideswipe from a truck coming the other way to cause a disaster."
Mr Whale praised construction company Kel-Mac for finishing all the necessary work close to its proposed completion date despite some heavy rainfalls.