Murray Bridge council watch: June 2022
The latest on plans for a corella sanctuary at the Swanport Wetland, speed limits at Riverglen Marina, a street name in the Pathways estate and more.
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Steel ‘trees’ will lure corellas to Swanport Wetland
The Murray Bridge council will push ahead with a plan to draw pest corellas away from Sturt Reserve by establishing a sanctuary for them at Swanport.
Councillors voted in favour of the unusual plan at a meeting last Tuesday night, following years of frustration about the native birds.
The $250,000 solution – to be majority-funded by private investors – will focus on the use of technology to make the wetland the most desirable location for corellas within several kilometres.
Steel “trees” will even be erected for them to play on, so they might spare some of the real ones.
If the plan worked, it would be worthwhile, Councillor Karen Eckermann said.
“Whilst we can’t be certain the sanctuary will work perfectly, it’s a big step forward,” she said.
Corellas have descended on the riverfront at Murray Bridge, and other locations around the Murraylands, every summer for more than 10 years, destroying trees and tennis courts as well as peace and quiet.
The council finally gave in to public pressure and tried a culling program between last December and this May, resulting in the deaths of 46 birds at a cost of more than $16,000.
However, the corellas returned in numbers when the shooters left.
Players and Singers, community centre deserve lower rates bills, councillor argues
Who should have to pay council rates and who shouldn’t?
The question came up at last week’s meeting after Cr Airlie Keen suggested the council grant bigger rate rebates to five Murray Bridge organisations: Players and Singers, the Freemasons’ lodge, the community centre, the Hand Spinners and Weavers Guild and the racing club.
Doing so would cost the council about $22,000, she said, but would give those groups a fairer deal when compared with local sporting clubs.
Councillors will consider her idea next month.
In the meantime, they approved the council’s 2022-23 budget without any major changes.
Rising property values mean homeowners will get bigger rates bills next year; the council will invest their hard-earned in riverfront upgrades, a new basketball stadium and residential growth, among other projects.
Next year’s councillors would need to keep putting downward pressure on rates in the face of those rising property values, Cr Keen suggested.
Cr Wayne Thorley argued that commercial property rates, in particular, would need to come down.
Riverglen Marina residents wanted slower roads and got faster ones
Riverglen Marina residents who wanted a lower speed limit on one of their roads have been denied – and told the speed limit will be increased on a different road as well.
Residents had asked for the speed limit on Riverglen Road to be reduced to 40 kilometres per hour, for safety reasons.
However, a traffic survey found that 85 per cent of motorists were already travelling below that speed, and the state Department for Infrastructure and Transport recommended keeping the existing 50km/h limit.
The department then said that a 25km/h sign on Marina View Road had not been authorised and needed to be removed.
It argued that the 10km/h limit within the marina should be increased, too, but council staff drew the line at that one.
Cr Keen suggested installing a traffic-calming measure of some kind, such as speed bumps, to slow cars down; CEO Michael Sedgman pointed out that that was not what the petitioners had asked for.
New street at Pathways gets a name
A new road to be built in Murray Bridge’s Pathways housing development will be called Binburra Drive.
The name, councillors were told, came from an Aboriginal word for the white beech tree.
Mr Sedgman said the name had been on a list of possible street names held by the council and “seems non-controversial”.
Planning continues for domestic violence memorial
Plans for a “place of courage” in Murray Bridge, a memorial honouring survivors of domestic abuse, are progressing.
In keeping with the “ripple” theme of similar artworks across South Australia, the city’s council has proposed to build one at Sturt Reserve, in a peaceful, accessible location near the water where annual domestic violence vigils could be held.
Advocate Helen Oxenham brought the idea to the council’s attention in March.
The council has invited the Murray Bridge Regional Collaboration on Violence Against Women and Children to lead the project.
However, ratepayers are still likely to bear its cost, estimated at almost $26,000.
If endorsed by councillors and the community, the memorial would likely be installed early in 2023.
Get help: Visit the Haven at Murray Bridge Community Centre between 10am and 2pm on weekdays, or the DVINA Centre on Standen Street, Murray Bridge between 10am and 4pm on weekdays; call the Domestic Violence Crisis Line on 1800 800 098, or Murray Mallee Adelaide Hills Domestic Violence Service on 8215 6320; or, in an emergency, dial 000.
Council elections are coming up
Property owners will have until July 29 to update their details on the state electoral roll if they want to vote in this year’s council elections.
Councillors have approved a schedule for the period leading up to the election, which will be decided by a voluntary postal vote between October 14 and November 10.
Mayor Brenton Lewis has indicated he will step down at the end of his current term.
Quote of the month
“These are the things I do for you guys while you’re cuddled up at home by the fireplace with your beans and grits and chow.”
–Mayor Brenton Lewis, on attending a fancy reception at Government House