Positive candidate support for bridge

Positive candidate support for bridge

“Positive and encouraging” is how Save the Snowy Rail Bridge vice president, May Leatch, describes the responses received from candidates in the upcoming Federal election regarding the bridge project.

“We sent two questions to as many candidates for the local seat of Gippsland as we were able to contact,” Ms Leatch said.

The questions were:

1. Do you support the Save the Snowy Rail Bridge Association in its efforts to have the bridge restored and appropriately re-used?

2. If elected, and provided the social/economic study is positive, would you support funding applications for this project?

Answers from Darren Chester (Nationals), Deb Foskey (Greens) and Antoinette Holm (Labor) all showed excellent support and are printed here in précis form. Their full responses can be seen on the Save the Snowy Rail Bridge Facebook page and in the window of the group’s Orbost window display in Nicholson Street, Orbost.

Darren Chester states in short, “As you know, I am fully aware of the project and I fully support the community’s efforts to see the bridge restored”.

“Furthermore, if re-elected, I am keen to continue to work with the association to secure funding for the restoration once the findings of the socio/economic study are known. It is an iconic structure and would be an impressive attraction to our district if restored and is a high-profile location beside the Princes Highway and would be an outstanding feature of the East Gippsland Rail Trail.”

Deb Foskey’s response is a categorical “yes” to both questions.

“I would like to see the restored bridge as an incentive to further development of cycling infrastructure in our region which offers so much to tourists,” Dr Foskey said.

“As well as the bike trail, many people use the other roads [in our district] and the potential is enormous.”

Antoinette Holm’s support is also very clear. She states that she is “absolutely” a supporter of the project, and would most definitely support funding applications if elected.

Dr Holm adds that she has already submitted a preliminary request through the Labor party for consideration of the project.

“Other candidates have not been able to be contacted for their comments,” Ms Leatch said.

“I know that Sonia Buckley (Independent) is also positive because of her previous responses to these questions when she was a candidate for East Gippsland in last year’s Victorian election.

“Watching the huge amounts of money being spent or promised during this election campaign has been very interesting. Not only millions, but billions appear to have been scattered around like confetti.

“Our project is estimated to cost $3 million, not much in the whole scheme of things, and a small amount for such an important project for this region.”