THE Brighton Council will support the solution developed by the Department of Infrastructure Energy and Resources (DIER) for the completion of the Brighton Bypass on the current alignment with a bridge to protect the important Aboriginal cultural and archaeological site.
Brighton Mayor Tony Foster said Brighton Council considered the matter at length at its most recent meeting and had earlier received briefings from representatives of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Inc and officers from DIER.
Cr Foster said the Brighton Council would make a submission supporting the solution in response to a call for public comments from the Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage. It would also place the matter on the agenda of the next Local Government Association of Tasmania general meeting to ensure that other councils were aware of Brighton’s decision and the reasons behind it.
Cr Foster said Council recognised the important Aboriginal cultural heritage and archaeological significance of the Jordan River levee site and was determined that this should be protected.
“However, we believe DIER has developed a solution that protects the integrity of the site, while minimising the negative impacts on the local community, transportation and the travelling public and Tasmanian taxpayers.
“Once the cultural and heritage values were identified, DIER examined all possible alternative routes, but none were found to be practical or feasible. As a consequence, DIER significantly amended its design to ensure the protection of the important values contained in the levee deposits, with the construction of a $12 million, 70-metre bridge to span the site.
“While there is no dispute that the site is of historical significance, containing 600 metres of stratified material, the bridge poses no disruption or dislocation to the site as it will be built over the top of the area of stratification.
“There is no better compromise available. The bridge ensures the site is protected and the community is not unduly inconvenienced.”
Cr Foster said Council understood that DIER had determined that its only options were a road on the current alignment, or no road at all.
“If an alternate route was chosen, it could require a large number of existing homes to be demolished (30 homes), with associated costs and disruption to residents and the broader Brighton community.
“Our submission to the Minister will stress that Brighton strongly supports the protection and enhancement of this important archaeological site and the development of appropriate plans in consultation with the Aboriginal community.
“While we are confident that the proposed long-span bridge will not physically impact on the Jordan River levee and all heritage values will be preserved, we support the development of appropriate protection, access and interpretation of the heritage site.”
Cr Foster said it was also important not to lose sight of the important safety issues surrounding the need for the bypass.
“We have been lobbying for 25 to 30 years to upgrade the dangerous section of highway between Bridgewater and Dysart and improved safety and transport efficiency are the principal reasons behind the need for the bypass.
“Brighton Council has considered all the facts and consulted with both opponents and proponents of the project, as well as with the local and broader community.
“We have reached the conclusion that the DIER proposal provides the best possible solution that protects the significant Aboriginal cultural, heritage and archaeological values and does not place unreasonable impacts on the Brighton and broader community. That will be the substance of our submission to the Minister,” Cr Foster said.
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