Murray Bridge council watch: September 2023
Here’s what councillors are saying about feral cats, swimming pool fees, lighting at Callington Recreation Park, 5G towers and more.
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Council will keep advocating for better feral cat laws
What can be done about feral cats in Murray Bridge?
At their September meeting, councillors voted to write to the Local Government Association, asking it to lobby the federal government on the issue, at the request of Cr Tom Haig.
Council staff will also check with the state government to see where some long-stalled law reforms are up to.
A resigned Cr Karen Eckermann, who has been trying to get action on the problem for at least eight years, said she was interested to see whether the approach would produce results.
Should seniors get free pool entry?
Allowing over-65s to get into Murray Bridge’s swimming pool for free is “overly generous”, a councillor says.
Tom Haig reckoned the council ought to charge seniors $5 for pool entry; by his maths, that would generate about $8500 per year to keep the pool running.
Cr Fred Toogood admitted he felt weird about accepting the freebie, “even though they say to me every time that I don’t look 65”.
Younger Cr Mat O’Brien actually argued the other way, saying that free entry might encourage more grandparents to pay to take their grandchildren.
“It’d be a brave chamber that took it away,” Cr Airlie Keen said – but in any case the debate didn’t matter much, as a formal budget review would be the only way to alter the fees.
Murray Bridge Swimming Centre is due to reopen for the summer on October 28.
Callington oval granted $20k for lighting
The Murray Bridge council will chip in if Callington Recreation Park wins funding for new lights at the oval, councillors have decided.
The council will make the funding available if the state government, Mount Barker council and local community agree to pay the lion’s share.
Cr Airlie Keen brought the request forward ahead of a grant application deadline on September 25.
Soccer club wants synthetic turf at its Beatty Terrace home ground
A push is on to replace the sometimes patchy grass at Murray Bridge United’s home ground with synthetic turf.
The soccer club approached Cr Karen Eckermann about the idea after playing a recent away match on a synthetic surface at Nuriootpa.
The councillor suggested that a more durable surface might reduce wear and tear, and increase the number of matches the club could host on its only pitch, given it had no room to expand.
It might also save water.
Cr Tom Haig argued against the idea because of how much it might cost; he estimated it would be at least $300,000.
He also worried that artificial turf would get too hot in summer, and that it would create waste when it eventually wore out.
In the end, though, a majority sided with the former international soccer umpire on the council, Airlie Keen, who suggested it would be appropriate to consider the request next financial year.
“I encourage everyone to get involved in the round-ball game,” she said.
Anti-5G campaigner wants more research done
A resident determined to prevent the proliferation of 5G phone towers in Murray Bridge has put his concerns to councillors for a second time.
Alan Gray, who last addressed the council in July, returned this month to raise his fears about the technology once again, despite it having been declared safe by the World Health Organisation, Australia’s chief medical officer, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, the Australian Communications and Media Authority and university researchers.
Mr Gray cited a case in the United States – since disproven – where a phone tower was initially blamed for a cancer cluster at a school.
“That’s why I started on this track,” he said.
Asked what should be done about mobile phone towers, Mr Gray urged the council to lobby the state government to do research “that will give some clarity on what’s needed (to) protect our community”.
More information about the health effects of 5G: theconversation.com/theres-no-evidence-5g-is-going-to-harm-our-health-so-lets-stop-worrying-about-it-120501.
More information about 5G misinformation: www.arpansa.gov.au.
Council turns to PR to solve slumping issue
For 13 years, Murray Bridge’s Riverfront Road has been closed due to the danger – perceived or real – that the riverbank may collapse at any moment.
Now the city’s council is turning to a new tool in its fight to get the road reopened: public relations.
The Murray Bridge, Coorong and Mid Murray councils have engaged Adelaide Film Works to produce a video about the long-dormant safety issue, hoping it will convince the state government to declare the area safe.
A number of cars and trees fell into the River Murray when water levels dropped during the Millennium Drought of 2009-10.
No such incidents have been reported in Murray Bridge for more than a decade, but a 2020 survey suggested the danger was still there.
Delivery service seeks help with unmade road
Is the delivery of newspapers and magazines an essential service, and should ratepayers’ money be used to keep it going?
Sharon and Mark Foster hope so.
The owners of the Murraylands Delivery Service recently shifted their operations onto a property at Monarto, but found that access wasn’t good enough for the trucks that rolled in and out every night.
Would the council be willing to fix up a 500-metre section of unmade road reserve to ensure the business could keep operating?
Council staff advised against the request, saying it could set a precedent for another 375 kilometres of unmade road reserves around the district.
But Cr Andrew Baltensperger pushed the issue, saying it was about “safety and reliability”.
Councillors voted to seek more information about how much the work would cost.
Disclosure: Murray Bridge News used the Murraylands Delivery Service to distribute the first edition of Murraylands Life magazine.