Murray Bridge council watch: November 2021
Here's what your council is doing about its deputy mayoral position, the Riverglades wetland, business signage on public land, Flagstaff Road and more.
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Riverglades wetlands transfer approved
The Murray Bridge council has agreed to take over the Riverglades Community Wetland and maintain it as a public park going forward.
As Murray Bridge News reported last month, the members of the association which owns the private wetland, and maintains it for public use, has found the task increasingly difficult due to insurance costs and a shortage of volunteers.
Councillors voted 7-2 in favour of the transfer, with Cr Keen and Cr Thorley opposed.
The council will pay $500 to each of the association’s 106 members as part of the process.
The property will then be declared community land, and a management plan will be drawn up by council staff and association members for approval by the public.
The council’s open space team will need extra funding to look after the reserve from 2022-23 onwards; an exact figure will be worked out in the council’s next budget.
Wayne Thorley re-elected as Murray Bridge’s deputy mayor
Wayne Thorley will continue to serve as Murray Bridge’s deputy mayor, standing in for Mayor Brenton Lewis as required, after being re-elected last week.
Councillor Thorley was the only candidate to put his hand up for the position at a meeting last Monday, November 8.
Cr Airlie Keen nominated him “for the same reasons I gave last year” – that is, because continuity was important while Mr Lewis was dealing with serious health challenges.
Mr Lewis thanked Cr Thorley for his help.
“It has been a year where, more than in any other year, I have called on my deputy to support me,” he said.
“It hasn’t always been around my health or chemotherapy – there have been a lot of (scheduling) clashes.
“I’m really grateful for all the times I’ve asked Cr Thorley to step in for me, and he’s never said no.”
Cr Thorley will serve in the role until the next council election, due in November 2022.
Thumbs down for business signs on public land
Should businesses be able to erect signage on public land?
That question divided councillors at their November meeting after agricultural machinery dealer Emmetts applied to build a nine-metre-high sign on the road verge out the front of their new premises, the former Murray Valley Standard printing site on Adelaide Road, Murray Bridge.
Cr Thorley argued that businesses needed visible signage, and that a real estate sign had stood on the roadside for months anyway.
Cr Karen Eckermann argued that the likes of Tyndale Christian School, further down the road, should be allowed to put up signs that were visible to passers-by.
But they were outvoted by a majority of councillors, who didn’t want to set a precedent that could have allowed more private businesses to make use of public land.
Access made easier for truck drivers on Flagstaff Road
A “nice piece of road” at Brinkley will be added to the national heavy vehicle network after being upgraded.
Flagstaff Road has already been catering to up to 700 truck movements a day, according to Mayor Brenton Lewis.
Formal gazettal of the road will mean the operators of trucks up to 36.5 metres long will no longer have to apply for permits to visit Big River Pork or Ingham’s.
Audit committee appointment made
A new appointment has been made to the committee which keeps an eye on the Murray Bridge council’s finances.
Former Mallee Health Service CEO Paul Lamberts will join the audit committee as an independent member.
Current member Luke Williams was reappointed for another four years at the council’s November meeting, while outgoing member Peter Canaway was thanked for his service.