Murray Bridge council watch: March 2021

Councillors discuss a new pedestrian crossing on Bridge Street, horses at Monarto, riverbank slumping and more.

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Walking between the new Bridgeport Hotel and Murray Bridge’s riverfront is about to get a lot easier.

Councillors have voted to spend $260,000 on a new pedestrian crossing on Bridge Street, between Railway Terrace and East Terrace; plus a sealed footpath leading down to the 1879 road bridge.

The current gravel footpath was too dangerous, Councillor Andrew Baltensperger said.

He brought a box full of the gravel into the council chamber to prove his point this month.

“I’d like to present exhibit A,” he said, with a theatrical flourish.

“This loose surface and sharp grading combine to create a precarious and potentially dangerous footpath for all of our residents, tourists and visitors.”

The other councillors agreed improvements were needed.

Planned stormwater works on Prosperity Grove will be deferred to pay for the project.

Watch out for horses at Monarto

Extra signage may be installed at Monarto to warn motorists to watch out for horses and riders.

Cr Airlie Keen asked that the council warn drivers to slow down on Frahns Farm Road and Browns Road, where numerous property owners kept horses and groups conducted rides.

Council staff promised to review signage in the area and, if new signs were needed, to install them by May 28.

Police superintendent ‘will be missed’

SA Police Superintendent James Blandford is a “fantastic chap” who will be missed in the Murray Mallee, Mayor Brenton Lewis says.

At the Murray Bridge council’s March meeting, Mr Lewis paid tribute to the senior police officer, now reassigned, for his dedication to addressing social problems.

“He did take the time to compliment the work that’s being done by this council, works on the ground, work done without seeking notoriety but getting some good results and, from time to time, some excellent results," he said.

“He’ll be sadly missed by this community.”

Mr Lewis said he looked forward to enjoying a productive relationship with Superintendent Blandford’s successor, Superintendent Scott Denny.

However, he warned that community leadership, not police alone, was needed to solve Murray Bridge’s drug and domestic violence problems.

Interested in local development? Don't bother reading the classifieds

Local newspapers will no longer be the place to find public notifications about proposed property developments in South Australia.

Instead, councils will erect signs on properties where significant development is proposed to take place.

The change is part of the switch over to a new planning system which came into effect in Murray Bridge and the Adelaide metropolitan area on Friday.

It will save developers almost $100, as the cost of putting up a sign will be significantly cheaper than the cost of an advertisement in The Murray Valley Standard.

Cr Wayne Thorley described the gradual pace of the planning system changes as “like watching a slow cloud go across the sky”.

Former LGA executive joins riverbank slumping campaign

Riverbank slumping is an issue that has, like the banks of the Murray themselves, barely moved in the past 10 years.

Some stretches of riverbank – including on Riverfront Road, south of Murray Bridge’s Sturt Reserve – have been legal no-go zones since 2009, when drought caused sections to collapse and slump into the river.

Mr Lewis said the state government had declared the areas dangerous, then left councils to deal with the consequences without the powers or funding they needed to do so.

“I sat at a riverside meeting one day with a prominent land holder whose banks were slumping away,” he said.

“Four to five agencies were involved on the day at the site ... (but) no-one could make any decision on anything, or even give us a hint that they’d be able to go back and make a decision.”

The issue remains unresolved, even though five years have passed since the state government declared it was safe enough to remove a four-knot speed limit on the river.

The councils have enlisted former Local Government Association executive Wendy Campana to try and convince Environment and Water Minister David Speirs to act.