Amy Morgan, Jamilla Churchill and Candice Meyer are a few younger Clarence Valley residents who have concerns over the location of a new Grafton bridge and feel the debate is being dominated by elder people.
Amy Morgan, Jamilla Churchill and Candice Meyer are a few younger Clarence Valley residents who have concerns over the location of a new Grafton bridge and feel the debate is being dominated by elder people. JoJo Newby

Young people urged to speak up

LOOK around any RTA-hosted gathering about the proposed Grafton bridge and the sea of grey hair is striking.

As a result, says Amy Morgan, 29, of South Grafton, the views of the younger generation are not being heard in the bridge debate.

At a recent consultation Ms Morgan asked the RTA to start using SMS technology and social networks to engage younger people.

She also plans to approach student representative councils at Grafton's major high schools to arrange surveys on the bridge issue.

“The (RTA) meetings have been dominated by older people, many of them pushing a particular agenda,” Ms Morgan said in reference to the Concerned Citizens Group which is pushing for an ‘out-of-town' bridge option.

“Many young people work or can't attend because of school ... there is largely retirees there.”

Ms Morgan initiated Facebook site New Bridge for Grafton Now Please in early 2010 and it now boasts 1106 members – many of them opposed to a new bridge away from the centre of Grafton.

Ms Morgan said a new bridge needed to be viable for people wanting to go from Grafton to South Grafton and vice versa.

“Something in the middle of nowhere will cost you extra and now that fuel has gone up, people simply won't use it ... these kids aren't being paid much,” she said.

Ms Morgan said those viewing the Facebook page expressed the frustration felt by Graftonians about the bridge.

“People are just fed up with the politics of it all, they want it now and not in 20 years time,” he said.

“They were talking about another bridge when I was in high school ... we don't want to wait for it to crumble down or there to be another life-threatening delay for emergency services.”

“I was nearly cleaned up the other day, it was very shaky ... if you're on there when a B-double and a train are crossing it is scary. The deterioration is starting to show.

“When the retirees say they want the best for the future, they need to ask the people whose future it will be.”

Ms Morgan said people in South Grafton were affected more by the bridge than those on the north side of the river because of the presence of medical, shopping and banking facilities.

“If school buses were made to travel on a new bridge out of Grafton, that could be an extra 15 minutes each way for school kids.”

The RTA had not responded to The Daily Examiner's inquiries by last night's deadline.



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