10 March 2021
1 New Business
Forum Submissions Recieved.......................................................................... 3
4.1. Public Forum
Deputations for the Public Forum of
10 March 2021 were received and circulated to Councillors.
Mayor, Russell Fitzpatrick
Held on Wednesday 10 March 2021 at 12:00 noon
Cr Russell Fitzpatrick
Cr Liz Seckold,
Cr Tony Allen
Cr Robyn Bain
Cr Jo Dodds
Cr Cathy Griff
Cr Mitchell Nadin
Manager, Ms Leanne Barnes
Assets and Operations, Mr Anthony McMahon
Community, Environment and Planning, Dr Alice Howe
Business and Governance, Ms Iliada Bolton
Lead – Recovery, Rebuilding and Resilience, Mr Chris Horsburgh
Communication and Events, Ms Emily Harrison
Secretary, Mrs Bec Jones
Statement of Commencement of Live Streaming
The Mayor made an
announcement about live streaming requirements noting that:
Public Forums are recorded
and live streamed to the Internet for public viewing.
The recording will be
archived and made available on Council’s website
Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians of Bega Valley Shire
Mayor commenced by acknowledging, on behalf of Bega Valley Shire Council, the
Traditional Custodians of the lands and waters of the Shire, the people of Yuin
nation, to show respect to elders past and present.
Apologies were noted from Cr
Determination of excess requests
A total of 8
requests to speak AGAINST Item 11.7 Bridges Funding have been received.
1. Submission in writing
2. Submission in writing
3. Request to speak at Public Forum
4. Request to speak at Public Forum
5. Request to speak at Public Forum
6. Request to speak at Public Forum
7. Request to speak at Public Forum
8. Request to speak at Public Forum
The General Manager provided an exception
to allow requests 4 and 5 to speak, due to requests 1 and 2 being in writing.
In addition, the General Manager and Mayor
determined to accept the excess requests to speak (6, 7, and 8) and those
speakers would be heard at the Public Forum.
Public Forum Addresses
The following requests were heard regarding:
Item 11.7 Bridges Funding
Ms Karen Joynes
Via written submission
Unfortunately I will not be
able to address Council at the meeting as I will be travelling. Please accept
this written submission.
On reading that the local Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, had
announced funding for bridge works on the South Coast, I was shocked
to see that the replacement of Cuttagee bridge was top of the list, with $7.5
funding. I was further shocked to realise a decision on the future of
the bridge is to be made by Council this week just a few days after the
With little time to prepare and on contacting a few people, I decided
to start a change.org petition. Within the first day, over 600
people had signed. At the time of writing, there are over 1200 signatures.
This gives an indication of the passion people have for our
wooden bridges, and how much both residents and visitors value our relatively
slower way of life. It is a distinct point of difference to other coastal
Please read the petition which outlines my concerns with the
demolition proposal (also below). The comments are also relevant to
Other than the heritage aspect, of especial concern is the safety
aspect. Nowhere in the engineer's report is there any mention of the
fact that the southern approach to Cuttagee bridge is used by many people who
park their vehicles there to access Cuttagee Lake and beach. When prawns are
running, many also park their vehicles there at night. A two lane bridge will
undoubtedly increase the risk of injury, possibly fatal, for these people.
Please listen to the community that values and wants to preserve our
wooden bridges, and use the grant funding to repair and reinforce
Cuttagee bridge for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.
Please vote to not demolish Cuttagee bridge. Please ensure the other
wooden bridges on the Tathra-Bermagui Road (Wallaga Lake, Murrah and
Wapengo) are also protected.
REASONS TO PROTECT CUTTAGEE BRIDGE:
* is heritage listed and considered "iconic".
Cuttagee, with the Murrah, Wallaga Lake [and Wapengo bridges], are unique
the NSW coast.
* is historic, and gives an insight into what life on the coast was like
before modernisation destroyed so much.
is aesthetic. The bridge is featured in books, movies, tourism promotions.
makes people slow down to appreciate the area.
makes the Cuttagee lake/estuary area safer as drivers have to slow down for
the single lane bridge.
REASONS TO NOT REPLACE CUTTAGEE BRIDGE [WITH A CONCRETE STRUCTURE]:_
A two lane bridge will allow drivers to travel much faster across the water
body, endangering lake and beach users who park along the road. This area is
heavily used by many people especially over summer and other peak tourist
times, and even 40 kph is considered too fast by some.
* The Tathra-Bermagui Road along Cuttagee Beach is considered to be in the
"almost certain" Erosion and Recession Hazards zone under Bega
Valley Shire Council's Coastal Processes and Hazards Definition Study.
* Building a new bridge, in the long term, would be a waste of money
due to predicted sea level rise, erosion and coastal inundation.
* Funds would be better spent determining an alternative inland route
to withstand sea level rise and extreme events (Option 4 for the Council
agenda on Wednesday 10.3.21)
* The bridges give a unique, laid back, historic character to the area, and
if Cuttagee Bridge is replaced, the area will be one more step towards
the homogenous, predicable, hurried character typical of the rest of the NSW
Mr Gregory Hutchinson
Via written Submission
As I will not
have access to Zoom facilities on Wednesday, it would be appreciated if this
submission is presented to the Council meeting.
As resident and ratepayer I ask you: Please do not vote to demolish
The bridge has great heritage value, and many tourism sites list it as
It also makes the Lake and estuary area safer as drivers have to slow down on
the approaches to the bridge and travel slowly over the bridge.
One way Council could protect and conserve Cuttagee Bridge is to once again
make the Tathra-Bermagui Road for light vehicles only.
Before the road was upgraded and sealed (completed about 15 years ago),it was
deemed unsuitable for caravans and heavy vehicles.
Since then, the number and size of vehicles using the road has increased
dramatically, which would be impacting on all five wooden bridges on the
Tathra-Bermagui Road. Very large combinations of dual cab utes towing dual
axle caravans, Winnebagoes and truck-sized utes (eg. Rams) towing large
off-shore boats, as well as delivery trucks would all be adding to the wear
Caravanners and boat towers would still be able to access Bermagui and
Wallaga Lake from Cobargo, using the Princes Highway which is designed and
constructed for heavy vehicles.
Will Council please adopt this strategy to ensure, not just Cuttagee but also
Wallaga Lake, Murrah, Wapengo and Sandy Creek bridges are conserved into the
Ms Jenifer James
Audio Visual via Zoom
little of anything of heritage value remains, and when it does it is, like
this iconic and much loved bridge, it is easier to dismiss it and rebuild
something which never reflects the past and is -inevitably- totally devoid of
beauty. There is obviously plenty of money available to build concrete
bridges, but not apparently to save this beautiful little bridge.
Is the Wallaga lake bridge next?
I am also deeply disturbed by the apparent total blackout of
information from Council or anyone else about this matter. I have had two
searches on the Bega site with only a frustrating lack of result. The only
information I have been able to get has been through some hurried phone calls
and the local newspaper.
We literally found out about it through an announcement from Andrew Constance
MP a few days ago: where was the public consultation or information. Where
was the ability to fact check for ourselves, to offer both sides of this
More than 3 deputations
against, allowed by exception approved by the General Manager, as 2
deputations were via written submission
Mr Colin Sagar
Audio Visual via Zoom
Concerns about the lack of public consultation
Implications for BVS Vision, Land Use and the Tourism Strategy
Authentic consultation reqqired
Mr David Francis
Four Winds Concerts Inc (Authority
Audio Visual via Zoom
Loss of significant cultural heritage and landmarks
Impact to Four Winds Business during Bridge Closure
Excess Requests – General
Manager and Mayor accepted to hear addresses at the Public Forum
Ms Catherine Palese
Audio Visual via Zoom
I am greatly concerned that the planned replacement of this
heritage-listed and much loved part off the south coast is being rushed
through without community consultation as part of a funding package. While
everyone in the region is concerned about the safety of the bridge, most that
I know in the region value the history, wooden-design and single-lane aspects
of the bridge that are unique and a feature of our region. The cost of
replacing the bridge makes annual upkeep of the current wooden bridge pail in
comparison and moving from a slow and single-lane bridge causes concerns not
only for the likelihood of large trucks driving through but also safety
concerns for the dozens of families and children who park before and swim
under the bridge. I feel strongly that finding a solution that may make the
bridge safe without destroying its wooden design and heritage with community
involvement -- not rushed through in a matter of days -- is really important
for the community. I would like the chance to present my concerns and ask
questions about why other options and taking the time to address this
properly can't be done. Thank you, C. Blair Palese
Mr Phillip Keir
Audio Visual via Zoom
economic and environmental considerations have not been canvassed in the
No business case has been tabled for the meeting for the replacement and
expansion of the bridge. There is considerable financial risk given that NSW
funding is not likely to cover much more than half of the costs.
No QS report has been tabled for the meeting. A major civil project in an
area with exposure to ocean and tidal flows may mean the project is prone to
very large cost overruns.
No environmental report has been tabled for the meeting. A major expansion of
the bridge with a complete change of construction material with have a major
effect on the environment. Vastly increased CO2 emissions will accompany the
replacement of a structure made from renewal materials with a structure made
from non - renewable materials.
Audio Visual via Zoom
I write in objection to the
current proposal for the replacement of Cuttagee bridge without public
consultation for the following planning, tourism, environmental reasons and
request that the item be suspended from the Bega Valley Council agenda 11.7
of the Agenda for 2pm 10 March 2021 until such time as community consultation
has been adequately and thoroughly carried out to enable proper consideration
of the proposal.
Reasons for objections:
1. Environmental impacts of the new structure have not been
considered that the bridge and proposed bridge is in the wetland proximity
zone as defined by the Coastal Management Act and SEPP
The bridge and road leading up from the south under the State Environmental
Planning Policy: Coastal Management 2018 are classified as proximity zones to
wetlands and coastal use areas and the impacts of the replacement on these
areas, and the appropriate permissions and consultations required have not
been considered by the bridge replacement proposal. The word wetland is
not even mentioned in the council agenda. This is unacceptable and councillors
should be making a decision based on consideration of these impacts and more
The SEPP dictates the development controls for wetlands and their proximity
areas. The SEPP controls apply to this area, and part of an area that touches
on the then it must be a matter of consideration and if Council does not look
at it they're not looking at a jurisdictional fact. From the plans of the
bridge I believe the new proposal will impinge on the proximity area for the
coastal wetlands even further.
2. Lack of public consultation
The announcement of the funding and proposal was made public via Andrew
Constance's facebook page in a video with the Bega Valley General Manager
last week, and a council meeting is being held tomorrow - not even a week
later. The council papers state there has only been "board
engagement" given the short timeframe available to advise the NSW
government. This is not adequate community or stakeholder engagement.
Where is the evidence of any attempt to obtain the community's view on such
an important decision before a replacement option is decided upon -
where the design of the concrete pylon bridge is already in the council
papers? The council is proposing retrospective disingenuous public
consultation. Consultation after a decision has already been made and designs
already in council papers is not adequate.
1500 people have signed the petition to stop the replacement of the Cuttagee
Bridge just in the last few days - surely that's enough to warrant
reconsideration of the proposal and proper consultation to be undertaken?
3. Carbon intensity of a concrete bridge structure at odds with the Bega
Valley Shire and NSW Government's Net Zero commitments by 2050.
The NSW Government and Bega Valley has committed to net zero, and yet it is
proposing the replacement of a wooden bridge of significant heritage value
and heritage listed according to the council's own papers, to be replaced by
a concrete structure.
Modern methods of construction and life cycle analyses worldwide have demonstrated
the value of wooden structures for their benefits like carbon sequestration,
versus the embedded carbon impacts of concrete and steel structures. Net zero
is not simply about renewable electricity, it's about calculating the carbon
in the materials you use for construction and ensuring these are offset as
well. It's both operation and embedded carbon considerations.
While cost is one consideration, surely the emissions associated with bridges
over their lifetime from materials to maintenance (resurfacing requirements
and bitumen for example on the concrete and steel structures etc) and also
the carbon storage properties should also be costed and factored in - which I
see no such evidence for this particular bridge proposal.
Comparisons of steel, wood and concrete structures of course show that
concrete is cheapest, but when it comes to global warming the wood bridge is
by far better than the other two alternatives - this is in academic
literature. Please consult the Journal of Bridge Engineering.
At some point we are going to actually have to take the planet and emissions
into account in local decisions and state decision making. Environmental and
Social sustainability, not just economics, should be embedded into council
thinking - and state government thinking, in every decision, if we are to
reach net zero. That means greater use of timber, not less of it, both in
bridges and buildings where the situation allows. And in a coastal location
like Cuttagee - surely this is worth of consideration.
4. Heritage value of the current bridge structure
This is not a discussion of the second crossing of the Sydney Harbour, this
is a place where timber milling in the early 1900s helped establish the
Bermagui and wider community. This is not an objection on the basis of
just an iconic bridge, but what it symbolises in terms of the historic nature
of this very strip of coastline.
This Bermagui and regional community was built on fishing and timber - that's
why we must keep timber bridges, especially those set next to and near
the sites of historic timber mills. It's how the region was
established and came into prominence. The wooden bridge is symbolic of the
timber trade which dominated this part of the coast in years gone by. There
was even a mill in Cuttagee.
This is the iconic Cuttagee bridge where I myself have witnessed the rarest
sights of octopus play between the wooden pylons and stingrays swimming
beneath the bridge ... This is a pristine place of natural beauty. A place
people go for the bridge setting, a quiet place to swim in the lagoon with
young children, to show their children a place of history, because it is
a window into the past.
What has council cost as the impact on the intrinsic heritage
values of this decision?
5. Tourism value of the current bridge structure
There are over 2,000 instagram posts alone of the cuttagee bridge location,
especially coming off the back to the summer period. This serves to promote
the local area and is clear evidence of its high intrinsic value and tourism
value, promoting the local area and iconic attributes of the Bermagui region.
These photos are not being shared of a concrete bridge and beach - they are
being shared because the bridge is a rarity on the NSW coast, they are being
shared because the wooden bridge connecting the area with its surrounds are
beautiful, historic and reminiscent of an era gone by of the wood mills which
inhabited the area. Losing such an iconic bridge without any public
consultation, of such tourism value and promotional opportunity aside from
any general beauty and historical consideration is unacceptable.
Hannah Dunn Bermagui, NSW, 2546
The Public Forum
session closed at 12:56pm.
The recording of the Public
Forum is available on Council’s website:
11.7 Bridges Funding - Speakers Notes - Jenifer James
11.7 Bridges Funding - Speakers Notes - Colin Sagar