By TONY FOSTER
Mayor of Brighton
WHEN I woke up at 2.30 am on Tuesday April 21, I knew it was going to be hard to get back to sleep. The day was to be the official ceremony to mark the start of the Brighton transport hub and bypass projects.
I had been asked to speak at the ceremony along with Senator Mark Arbib,Parliamentary Secretary for Government Service Delivery, representing the Federal Government and Premier David Bartlett and I did not want to go back to sleep in case it was all a dream.
I was to speak on behalf of the Brighton Council and I knew they would talk about benefits of both the bypass and the transport hub. I decided to reflect on the history and to thank those who had supported us along the way in what has been a very long journey, one that for me goes back to 1985 when I first joined Brighton Council. Then we were discussing the preferred route from Bridgewater to Dysart to bypass Brighton, Pontville, Mangalore and Bagdad. Would it be the east side or would it be best on the west side?
It was decided the proposed corridor be the east side and of course that is now well established and work is underway even though it will be a few weeks until the heavy equipment moves in.
The successful joint ventures for the Projects are VEC/Thiess who have won the contract for the northern section of the bypass and Hazell Bros/John Holland the southern section, which includes the transport hub. It is great to see two Tasmanian companies, VEC and Hazell Bros, sharing in such an important project.
In my speech I mentioned the corridor for the Brighton bypass was established in the 1980s and that Council rezoned land to industrial on the west side of the Midland Highway in the 1990s, spending some $300,000 on water, sewerage and road infrastructure to develop the Brighton industrial estate in February 1998.
At that time we dubbed it the transport hub of southern Tasmania. We had the vision then but we knew it was not going to happen overnight.
Council worked closely with the State Government and our neighbouring councils to develop a plan to upgrade the northern approaches to Hobart from Dysart to Granton and when the transport hub was first mooted by former Premier Paul Lennon, we embraced the proposal and did everything to assist its development.
We thank the following people on behalf of the Council and the people of Brighton.
Mayor Tony Bisdee from Southern Midlands, Mayor Deidre Flint from Central Highlands and former Derwent Valley Mayor Nick Cracknell for their collective support through the many meetings we had with both State and Federal Government politicians. Locally, Minister Jim Cox and former Minister Bryan Green with whom we worked closely on the bypass proposal along with former Premier Paul Lennon for his vision and great support. At the federal level, Minister Martin Ferguson who gave us his personal support and had the projects included in the government’s election promise. Most recently, we have had excellent support from Minister for Infrastructure Graeme Sturges.
While it took a long time to get here, work is just about to begin and we thank David Spence and his team at DIER, staff from Pitt & Sherry and GHD for a fantastic job through the planning process and the way they communicated with stakeholders and the community.
Phil Cantillon, Brian Dawes, Mike King and Andrew Fowler who are the bypass team from DIER were also fantastic to deal with and we now look forward to them overseeing both projects. Their site office is at 64 Midlands Highway Brighton which most of us remember as the old post office. Maps and designs are there for residents to view so call in at any time.
Finally, these major projects representing the biggest investment in this type of infrastructure in the history of Tasmania would not have occurred without the financial support of the Federal and State Labor Governments and we thank them sincerely.
It has been a long journey and I look forward to the completion of stage 1 by June 2012 when we can continue the major streetscaping of the Midland Highway from Brighton to Pontville and it then will become a local road.