Bunbury City Council last night voted to raise the level of the Koombana footbridge following a passionate plea from the boating fraternity and also offers of cash and in-kind support from the community.
The footbridge over The Plug, which connects Koombana Bay and the Leschenault Inlet, was being rebuilt as part of the Koombana Foreshore revitalisation project at its current level. It will now be raised a further 1.4m to bring it to the same height as the adjacent traffic bridge at an expected cost of $499,455.
Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said after receiving community offers of cash and in-kind support of approximately $140,000, the Bunbury City Council resolved to lift the height of the footbridge.
“Prior to making that decision, Council robustly debated a motion to leave the bridge at the former height, and that motion was defeated,” Mr Brennan said.
Mr Brennan, who was adamant the community should not contribute to the cost of raising the bridge height, was pleased the donations of cash and materials from the Bunbury Yacht Club, Piacentini and Son and Halifax Crane Hire would reduce the likelihood of accessing community cash reserves.
“Other sources of funding includes interest earned and the balance of contingency funds, which will not be accurately known until the entire Koombana Foreshore project is completed in December,” he said.
Several speakers, including Member for Bunbury Don Punch, urged Council to agree to raising the bridge height.
"Council has made a pragmatic decision to get on with this project whilst minimising costs to the community,” Mr Brennan said.
“I regret further inconvenience to the regular users of the inlet path network as the bridge may not be installed until January 2017.
“I am confident our community and visitors will be delighted with the finished result of the Koombana Bay transformation and enjoy all it will offer.”
A service footbridge over the storm surge gates in The Plug will also be raised by the Department of Transport to match the increased pedestrian bridge height.