Murray Bridge council watch: December 2020

The latest on Sturt Reserve's boat ramp, a water sports park, Flagstaff Road works, a pump track for Callington and more.

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Replacement of the boat ramp at Sturt Reserve will have to wait, the Murray Bridge council has ruled.

A new boat ramp cannot be built on Murray Bridge’s riverfront until at least the second half of 2021, the city’s council has decided.

The council had planned to build a three-lane ramp at the southern end of Sturt Reserve in the middle of this year, to replace the single-lane ramp near the new regional rowing centre.

But the plan hit a snag when engineers found the proposed site was no good – anything built there would sink into the river mud.

On Monday night, councillors voted to keep the old boat ramp for now.

An investigation of possible sites for a new one, somewhere upstream of the Murray Bridge Club, will be carried out in 2021-22.

In the long term, the council also hopes to develop new waterski areas outside the city limits, perhaps at Toora or Swanport.

The council had originally promised a new boat ramp as a condition of Ski Racing SA bringing its state titles back to Sturt Reserve all the way back in 2014.

Four years later, the council promised it would not remove the old boat ramp until a new one was built.

Adam Bruce and Paul Daniel wanted to build a cable water sports park like this one in Murray Bridge. Photo: Bridge Watersport Park/Facebook.

‘There are ways forward’ for water sport park plan

A plan to build a water sport park in Murray Bridge is not dead yet, council chief executive Michael Sedgman has suggested.

Mr Sedgman revealed he had met last month with Adam Bruce, whose business proposal was knocked back by the council’s assessment panel a week earlier.

“There are ways forward,” Mr Sedgman told Monday night’s meeting.

“But they are ultimately matters Mr Bruce and his business partner need to make some decisions about.”

According to council policy, the pair have until January 13 to appeal the assessment panel’s decision in court.

Flagstaff Road will be re-surfaced

A 2.5-kilometre stretch of Flagstaff Road at Brinkley will be re-sealed by the end of April thanks to an influx of federal funding.

Up to 50 trucks per day use the road to get to Big River Pork and the Ingham’s feed mill, causing wear and tear to its 17-year-old surface.

The entire $1.75 million cost of the upgrade will be met by the federal government, through its Special Local Roads and Roads to Recovery programs.

The council’s city infrastructure manager said in a report that Flagstaff Road’s reconstruction would support economic stimulus and employment.

Work on the upgrade will start in February.

Overhanging trees could damage trucks

Overhanging trees pose a risk to drivers on some Murray Bridge roads, councillors say.

Cr Clem Schubert raised the issue at the council’s meeting on Monday night, saying trees needed to be cut back on a number of main roads.

“With the height of heavy haulage of today’s standards, there is a danger,” he said.

Cr Andrew Baltensperger agreed, saying a truck driver had approached him about the issue a couple of weeks ago.

“He’d driven along Bungama Drive and had a tree branch smash into the top of the cab,” he said.

“It bent the exhaust stacks back, so it actually caused damage.”

Council staff said it was “not possible” to maintain the required clearance beneath every tree in the district at all times, but they promised to try.

Murray Bridge council has got a lot right lately: councillor

The end of the year is a time for reflection, and Councillor Andrew Baltensperger reckons it has been a good run for Murray Bridge’s council.

People passed on positive comments daily, he said, about the Adelaide Road linear park, Swanport Road improvements, new rowing facility and war memorial, the revamped swimming pool, Lerwin and even footpath works.

“Those are all results and community benefits being delivered,” he said.

“There was a time not so long ago when not much happened.

“Now there’s a lot going on."

Callington pump track is still on the way

Negotiations are continuing on the construction of a pump track for young bike and scooter riders at Callington.

The Murray Bridge council has agreed to put up to $42,000 towards the project in 2021-22, so long as the Mount Barker council does the same.

The track would be built between the playground and netball court at the oval.

Councillor Airlie Keen said she would seek feedback from community members on whether they would prefer a large track – one which would take up some space on the court – or something smaller.

Status quo at the next election

The Murray Bridge council will keep its present make-up at the next local government election: nine councillors and a mayor directly elected by ratepayers.

A recent review of the council’s election processes found strong support for keeping things the same as in 2018.