'It is time for you to listen carefully': Wildens Way petition delivered to council

Murray Bridge's councillors have been asked to reaffirm their commitment to making a valuable stretch of land more accessible to the public.

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Residents’ right to enjoy Murray Bridge’s riverfront should trump the demands of Wildens Way’s shack lessees, petitioners say. Photo: Rural City of Murray Bridge.

A $4.7 million offer for a stretch of riverfront land in Murray Bridge “greatly undervalues” its importance to the community, a group of petitioners say.

Hundreds of people want the Murray Bridge council to keep the land on Wildens Way in public hands, according to a petition delivered to the council on Sunday.

A local person calling themselves “Murray Champion” gathered 230 signatures in response to a rival petition in April, from a group of shack lessees who wanted to buy the land.

Councillors agreed to meet with the shack owners to discuss the idea, despite having previously ruled that the land could not be sold without community approval.

The authors of the latest petition asked the council to “reaffirm its commitment” to a long-term plan to demolish the shacks on Wildens Way and turn the land into an extension of Long Island Reserve.

That work did not have to wait until the last leases expired in 2061, either, they said.

Blocks which were currently vacant could be made more accessible to the public right away.

They were not anti-development, either – it would be appropriate for some of the land to be used for cafes, tourism or even accommodation if it were set back from the riverfront.

But they said the shack lessees’ $4.7 million offer was not enough, considering Murray Bridge’s existing riverfront reserves were already overcrowded and its population was growing.

“(The proposed price) equates to each of the 22,495 residents of Murray Bridge each being paid $209 to never ever be able to walk the length of the riverfront through town, or access the river at Wildens Way, ever again,” the petitioners said.

Murray Bridge Mayor Brenton Lewis thanked the petitioners for their thoughts.

“It is a matter for the community to have their say,” he said in an emailed reply.

“It should go out to allow strong, honest debate.”