City of Bunbury council to vote on bridge height next week

The City of Bunbury council will end the ongoing debate over the height of the new Koombana Bay footbridge next Tuesday when it votes for one of three options presented to the elected members at last night’s agenda briefing session. 

Last month council voted in favour of exploring options to raise the height of the bridge after a group of local boat owners began lobbying against a council decision in June 2016 to put the new footbridge at the same height as the former railway bridge. 

On Tuesday night, City of Bunbury director of works and services Gavin Harris told council he had explored the three proposed options along with their prices, logistics and possible funding options. 

If council elect to reinstate the Koombana Footbridge to the original height, last month’s efforts to obtain revised project drawings will add $31,791.68 to the cost of the project and delay the completion date to January 12, 2018. 

A successful motion to raise the height 600 millimetres will add $314,349 excluding GST, to the original cost with a completion date of January 24, 2018. Raising the bridge 1400 millimetres will set council back an extra $499,455 excluding GST with a finish date of January 31, 2018.  

Options to pay the additional cost of raising the bridge include taking money from the asset management and renewal reserve – that is forecast to hold $2.7 million by June 30, 2018, adding the cost to the City’s new loan borrowing, removing other projects from the current budget or deleting other elements of the waterfront project including CCTV, WiFi and artwork. 

The City has hosted two public meetings with users of the inlet in the past month. 

A group of 50 boat owners attended a special electors meeting at the council chambers to discuss safety issues around the height of the bridge while a meeting at Bunbury Rowing Club raised concerns about an increase in motor boat usage in the inlet and wake generated from boats and its effects on passive water users.