Murray Bridge council watch: September 2021

Here's the latest on the council's Christmas light plans, a rail tunnel through the Hills, a roundabout on Long Island Road and more.

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The issue of Christmas decorations on Bridge Street, Murray Bridge has proven contentious in the past. Photo: Rural City of Murray Bridge.

It’s nearly time to bring those Christmas light grievances out of storage

The big pine tree at Diamond Park will get new lights, as will the remaining stand of gum trees on Bridge Street, as part of the Murray Bridge council’s $60,000 budget for new Christmas decorations this year.

A working party has been planning how best to spend the money, and decorations were ordered as soon as the council’s 2021-22 budget was approved, councillors were told at their September meeting last week.

It would be fair to say the issue of Murray Bridge’s main street Christmas decorations has been contentious in the past.

Previous offerings were described as “extraordinarily dismal” and “seriously underwhelming” – and that was by a councillor.

Council won’t fund rail tunnel research

The Murray Bridge council will not fund a business consultant who is building a case for a railway tunnel through the Adelaide Hills.

Consultant Paul Szuster put his tunnel idea to Mayor Brenton Lewis in the weeks after he presented it to the Mount Barker council last month.

Dr Szuster had called for a tunnel to be built from a point near Belair through to Nairne, which would reduce travel time for train journeys between Adelaide and Murray Bridge.

Mr Lewis said it had been “quite a productive meeting”, but that the council did not plan to spend money on Dr Szuster’s plan at present.

Roundabout needed on Long Island Road, councillor says

Councillor Andrew Baltensperger has been writing those letters to the state Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure again.

On his wish list this time: a roundabout at the corner of Swanport Road and Long Island Road.

Growth in student numbers at Murray Bridge High School, and the coming Romani Residential Aged Care Facility, would only increase traffic at the already-busy intersection, he argued.

If there were already a roundabout at Mulgundawah Road, why couldn’t there be one at Long Island?

Councillors supported his motion to put a request to the department in writing.

Prominent citizens remembered

Murray Bridge’s mayor has paid tribute to three prominent community members whose recent deaths had left the city a poorer place.

One was Leta Padman, a dairy farmer who, in retirement, had played a central role in welcoming Afghan refugees to Murray Bridge during the 2000s.

Another was Marshall Carter, who Mayor Brenton Lewis said had always been a great conduit between Ngarrindjeri and non-Aboriginal community members, and held in high standing.

The third was Francis Lovegrove, another Ngarrindjeri elder known for – among other things – his successful campaign to have World War I veteran Miller Mack re-buried at Raukkan.

Tourist facility at Riverpark development canned

The developer of the Riverpark residential area at Long Flat will no longer be required to build a tourist facility there.

The requirement was originally built into the 13-year-old agreement which allowed the land to be subdivided.

At their meeting last week, Murray Bridge’s councillors accepted staff advice that the restriction was no longer necessary, and that allowing accommodation or a tourist attraction to be built at the corner of Long Flat Road and Riverpark Road – in a rural living zone, directly across from farmland – would actually do more harm than good.

Property owners within the subdivision will be consulted about the change.

Quote of the month

“The public toilet strategy is available on our website at your convenience.” – CEO Michael Sedgman