Councillor Ian North slams council over lack of communication on Perthville Bridge works

NOT COMPLETE: This was how the Perthville Bridge looked just a couple of days before the first stage of the flood mitigation works were due to be complete and the bridge re-opened. Photo: NADINE MORTON 102717nmbridge8
NOT COMPLETE: This was how the Perthville Bridge looked just a couple of days before the first stage of the flood mitigation works were due to be complete and the bridge re-opened. Photo: NADINE MORTON 102717nmbridge8

COUNCILLOR Ian North has said Bathurst Regional Council didn’t communicate effectively with businesses at Perthville during its flood mitigation works. 

The Perthville Bridge was to reopen on October 27, however the works were nowhere near complete.

Business owners have been struggling during the eight weeks the bridge has been closed for, with fewer customers stopping at the businesses due to the diversions in place.

At the recent Policy Committee meeting, Cr North, who drives through Perthville regularly, said council had not kept the business owners in the loop.

He said he spoke to businesses the Friday before the bridge was meant to reopen and they had asked him about the status of the work. 

“I believe a week or 10 days out we found out it was definitely going to go over time,” he said.

“I think it is better to get information out and say ‘Look, we have found problems, it is going to take some time’.

“There’s one business out there that I spoke to the general manager about and sent a note to the mayor about, but they’re hurting badly. The lady broke down in tears the other day when I was out there; they’re beside themselves, they don’t know what to do.”

Cr North said the issues were unforeseen and out of council’s control, but this wasn’t communicated to businesses in a timely manner. 

“I just think that we need to communicate things better. I think it is better to get information out and talk to the public if there is an issue, rather than hold it to the last minute, because everyone was hoping Monday this was going to be open,” he said.

The Western Advocate approached council in the days before the work was supposed to be complete to find out the status of the project. 

Engineering services director Darren Sturgiss said there would be an extensive delay for stage one of the project as “excavation of the material at the location of the culverts has revealed material of poor quality at the base of the culvert foundation”.

This required excavation to an additional depth of two metres and subsequently allowed for groundwater to flow into the excavation, which created additional delays whilst the water was removed.

He could not provide a schedule of when the work would be complete.

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