No chance to voice views on bridge

BOB CAIRNS is staggered and disappointed at the roadblocks Clarence Valley Council has put in place preventing him from making a presentation about a second crossing over the Clarence at Grafton to one of its meetings.

The Concerned Citizens’ Group spokesperson said he emailed council on January 27, requesting to make a presentation to councillors, but was told there was no avenue to do so.

“Council is the closest government to the people of Grafton,” he said.

“But I have never seen a council that appears so remote from the people.

“It’s not as if it’s some two-bob issue, it’s a major issue that affects the people of Grafton.”

If council showed some proactive involvement with the proposed second crossing, Mr Cairns said it could ultimately influence where a bridge is built.

“It wouldn’t matter what the RTA said ... the current member (Steve Cansdell) knows where he wants a bridge, and if the council said where they want it, it would be very hard for them to put it anywhere else,” he said.

“They might have the power but the politics would stop them.”

Mr Cairns said during his bid to conduct the presentation he had received the support of Cr Ian Tiley, but not council staff.

In an email reply to Mr Cairns’ request, the council’s acting general manager Des Schroder said: “As advised there is no avenue for a presentation for the council meeting, except for the open forum, as the bridge is not on the agenda.”

“I have also discussed this with the mayor and he agrees,” Mr Schroder said in the email.

“In the reply from the acting general manager he didn’t even try to tell me how I could get it on the agenda,” Mr Cairns said.

Mr Cairns said he did not care if the council disagreed entirely with his presentation, but he believed some councillors wanted to listen to the presentation.

“They have had 10 closed door meetings with the RTA on this same issue over the last 14 to 15 months,” he said.

“All we want to do is put an alternative point of view to them.”

The Daily Examiner attempted to contact Mr Schroder on Friday without success.

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