Murray Bridge council watch: July 2022
A thousand tree seedlings will be given away to residents and ratepayers under a program intended to boost town pride and fight climate change.
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Tree giveaway will boost town pride, fight climate change
Free tree seedlings will be made available to Murray Bridge residents under a plan to make the district greener and shadier.
The city’s council plans to give away 1000 seedlings propagated at its community nursery at Brinkley:
Up to five seedlings for properties of up to 500 square metres
Up to 10 for properties of 500-2000m2
Up to 20 for properties of more than 2000m2
The idea was brought forward by Councillor Karen Eckermann, who said encouraging people to plant and nurture trees would make the district more beautiful, increase community pride and help mitigate the effects of climate change.
The program will cost the council less than $1000.
Young people need a community bus
Public transport is needed to help Murray Bridge’s youth access services and events, councillors have been told.
Most of the teenagers who attended events at the Station, the youth centre on Railway Terrace, needed to walk for 30 minutes, an hour or longer to get there, the council’s youth action committee reported.
The lack of a community bus or other transport options for young people only added to the disadvantage many experienced.
Unless the state government wanted to get involved, Cr Airlie Keen suggested, it would be up to the council and the community to come up with a solution.
Perhaps the bus used by the council-owned Lerwin Nursing Home could be put to use after hours and on weekends.
Council staff will report back with a list of possible solutions.
The council discussed the merits of introducing a community bus service back in 2018, but never resolved to take action.
Footpaths are needed on the east side
East side residents can hope they might get better footpaths in 2023-24 after a push from a councillor.
Cr Wayne Thorley raised the issue at Monday night’s meeting on behalf of several residents who, he said, had raised concerns about the lack of footpaths on the east side of Murray Bridge.
At the least, he suggested that the council plan to build a compacted gravel loop of between two and four kilometres so that east side residents would have somewhere to walk around safely.
That might cost about $50,000/km, he guessed, which would be cheaper than installing sealed footpaths with kerbing and drainage.
Staff will report back with some options for inclusion in the council’s budget for next financial year.
Council will keep lobbying for housing after ‘disappointing’ summit
Murray Bridge Mayor Brenton Lewis says he came away disappointed from a forum about South Australia’s housing crisis last month.
He and council CEO Michael Sedgman attended the summit in Adelaide alongside representatives of every other SA council and the state government.
“I was looking for them to give us … some budget lines, some actions, some activities, some deadlines, and for me, I didn’t get it,” Mr Lewis said.
“If we’re waiting for (the state government) to lead us to the new future, I think we’re going to be waiting a long time.
“I think a lot of the inertia and initiative is going to have to come from the regions, from the councils.”
Murray Bridge’s councillors resolved to write to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Premier Peter Malinauskas and federal and state housing ministers Julie Collins and Nick Champion, calling for more social and community housing to be built in the district.
They will also increase their lobbying efforts alongside local homelessness services and through the Local Government Association of South Australia.
The letters might not produce any response, Cr Karen Eckermann suggested, but all the council could do was try.
Swimming season may yet be extended
Councillors have not yet decided when the next swimming season will start at the city’s pool, or how long it should go.
Council staff recommended against extending Murray Bridge Swimming Centre’s open season, despite a plea from residents in May.
Extending the swimming season from October 1 to April 30, even with reduced operating hours in the cooler months, would cost ratepayers about $100,000, they said.
Opening the pool for eight months every year would cost at least an extra $139,000, and opening year-round would cost at least $335,000.
But councillors voted not to close the book on the idea.
Cr Wayne Thorley argued that opening the pool for Easter and the autumn school holidays would benefit the community.
Councillors and staff will discuss the issue in more detail at an upcoming briefing session.