Unsafe, costly and environmentally ruinous

Ian Edwards, Castlemaine

Councils have a difficult job in balancing the infrastructure demands of increased traffic with preserving heritage, natural beauty and residential liveability.
The preservation of the one lane bridge in Froomes Road is a perfect example of how a beautiful environment can be kept with very little, or no, interference to traffic flow. On the other hand, the construction of a much larger, concrete two-lane bridge would create a very dangerous thoroughfare for the many tourists, walkers, bike riders, school children, local residents, odd horse and cart and even kangaroos who use Froomes Rd bridge.
The bridge adjoins a heritage area (HO 587), the Botanical Gardens (HO669), and neighbourhood protected by the council’s very own Planning Scheme. There is an Aboriginal Cultural Significance overlay, a Landscape overlay and the nearby historic railway line buttressing. To turn this unique, historic area into a busy “access route…(for a)…significant local industry” would be a disaster, especially as the alternative route along Richards Road and Parker Street takes a mere 15 seconds longer.
The council has shown admirable sensibility in preserving environments and controlling traffic with such initiatives as the Gaffney St bridge and Templeton St road-narrowing and palm tree planting. I urge them to continue their good work by preserving an even more beautiful heritage neighbourhood.
Please, council, use some of the more than $1 million you have allocated to remove and replace the current bridge to its preservation and repair. Then the rest of the money could be used on the many other infrastructure demands Castlemaine ratepayers actually need and desire.

Lisa Dennis
Editor of the Castlemaine Mail newspaper and senior journalist on our sister paper the Midland Express. Over the last 24 years Lisa been proudly reporting news in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges communities.