Opinion

Council’s smart bridge building exercise

By James Bennett

Greater Shepparton City Council has hit the right note with its decision to build a suspension bridge across the Broken River.

The new bridge will connect Lincoln Dve with the Australian Botanic Gardens Shepparton and it will also create better accessibility across major destination points in the municipality.

Council says the completion date is set for December 2020.

This will certainly create a better walking trail, for both visitors and locals.

As an added bonus, if it's completed in December this year, it will be in time for those summer tourists — hopefully, they come this year considering what's been happening recently.

As our Mayor Seema Abdullah told the News last week: "It would link the gardens to the new Shepparton Arts Museum, The Flats, KidsTown and Victoria Park Lake.

‘‘You can imagine it will be a super destination for locals and visitors to enjoy this shared path network,’’ she said

I could visit SAM in the morning and walk to the Botanic Gardens in the afternoon.

As someone who does walk around that area, my guess is that it could be a half-hour journey from the new SAM to the Botanic Gardens.

I'm a fast walker so I could have been a little generous about it.

I've written about it before but the walking trail from the south end of the Shepparton Lake then down towards the Broken River trail is pleasant.

The natural beauty of the Goulburn River flowing and observing the changes to the landscape after it rains make me feel safe and lucky.

It's common to find the trail popular with walkers, joggers, runners and cyclists.

Then the more ‘rough’ terrain bushwalks that surround that area are also often utilised.

Knowing this is the case it will be hard to imagine people not crossing the bridge to the Botanic Gardens.

What was interesting about the decision was the positive comments on Facebook through the News' feed.

How does the old cliche go about ‘building bridges'? This is one of those rare cases a council receives a nice thumbs up from the community as often it will be criticised for its decisions.

But there's no denying this decision to build the suspension bridge is welcomed in the community.

Why? Because it's hard to justify not building a suspension bridge across the Broken River.

In my personal view — and as both journalist and ratepayer — I do believe council has made some poor decisions this year.

Most notably when it chose not to proceed with a voucher scheme at its rubbish tips.

There was strong reasoning behind not going ahead but maybe on that particular topic — under another old cliche of ‘rates, roads and rubbish’ — we could have been paid a free kick.

However this recent ‘bridge building exercise’ goes well with the recent work that council is doing behind Aquamoves.

Let's hope there are similar projects to come.