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Murray Bridge council watch: August 2022
Your monthly update on council matters including Welcoming Cities, the Erskine Bridge, stray cat management and more.
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Murray Bridge recognised as a welcoming city
Murray Bridge has officially been established as a welcoming city, according to a national organisation which promotes multiculturalism.
Welcoming Australia’s Sebastian Geers presented a certificate recognising the council’s accreditation at a meeting last Monday night.
He congratulated the council on its formal relationship with the district’s traditional owners, the Ngarrindjeri people; its support for groups which promoted diversity and reconciliation; and its use of the term “new neighbours” and events such as the All Culture Fest to welcome migrants.
He encouraged the council to keep working on a reconciliation action plan and on reaching out to residents from migrant backgrounds.
Mayor Brenton Lewis said he was proud of what Murray Bridge had achieved in its efforts to make all its residents feel at home.
Erskine Bridge saga will continue
Callington residents will have to wait until next year, at the earliest, to find out whether a pedestrian bridge will ever connect the town’s two halves.
Murray Bridge council CEO Michael Sedgman said it was clear that residents did not want traffic lights to be built at the single-lane Erskine Bridge as a way of keeping pedestrians safe.
However, since council elections were now only a few months away, the Murray Bridge and Mount Barker councils – which share responsibility for the town – could not propose any new ideas for now, he said.
It would be up to the next crop of councillors to decide how to move forward, he said.
Locals have spent the past 22 years agitating for a better river crossing without success.
The councils had concept images of a stand-alone pedestrian bridge done up in 2018, but nothing ever came of the idea.
‘Not much action’ in cat action plan, councillor argues
Cat owners in the Murray Bridge district will be able to access discounted desexing and microchipping in 2023-24, but the city’s council will not go further in its efforts to stamp out its stray cat problem.
Last Monday, councillors voted not to hire a specialist cat management officer, set a cat curfew, or limit the number of cats that could be kept in a household.
Cr Karen Eckermann, who had previously described the council’s cat management efforts as “embarrassing”, said there was not much action in the new cat management action plan.
“I’m disappointed the rural city is not providing the level of leadership I’d prefer to see,” she said.
Mayor Brenton Lewis suggested that the council’s hands were tied in the absence of any guidance from the state government.
The council does hire out cat traps to anyone who needs to remove a stray cat from their property – see the document below.
Community advisory committee members picked
Three locals have been newly appointed to an important Murray Bridge council committee.
The community advisory committee judges grant applications and looks at public safety, the arts, youth and multicultural services and local history, among other responsibilities.
Continuing on the committee are Alicia Godfrey, Heather Richards, Peter Crowley and Steve Morcom.
Councillors Andrew Baltensperger and Airlie Keen will stay on at least until the upcoming election, while a youth member has yet to be appointed.
Condolences on the passing of Kevin Burdett
Councillors noted with sadness the death of former Karoonda East Murray Mayor Kevin Burdett.
Mr Lewis described him as a wonderful community man who would be respected and remembered for a long time.
Mr Burdett served as mayor of the Karoonda East Murray district from 2000 to 2018, and remained an active member of the council until shortly before his death on July 22.