State candidate Dugald Saunders calls for 'urgent action' on suspension bridge while council weigh up options

Water-logged: The suspension bridge connecting Cameron Park and Pioneer Park has been closed since flooding in 2016. Photo: Daniel Shirkie
Water-logged: The suspension bridge connecting Cameron Park and Pioneer Park has been closed since flooding in 2016. Photo: Daniel Shirkie

Nationals candidate for Dubbo Dugald Saunders has called for ‘urgent action’ to address the still-closed suspension bridge joining Pioneer and Cameron parks. 

The bridge, which has been closed since 2016 due to water damage from flooding, was expected to remain closed indefinitely as council couldn’t find room in the budget to provide plans for repairs.

Council have begun a consultation process on how best to deliver a new bridge for Wellington, according to local Councillor David Grant. 

“Council staff have looked into the cost of repairing the bridge that is there and the cost of a brand new bridge and it really ends up weighing up to the fact that we should put a whole new bridge in there,” said Cr. Grant.

Still, Saunders says that the bridge has sat idle for too long.

“I understand that council staff needed to close the bridge for safety reasons but there should have been a plan to fix things by now. Residents and regular users of the park want some answers,” said Mr Saunders. 

Both Mr Saunders and Cr Grant echoed concerns heard in the community around the Springfest weekend where many people were unable to attend both events that were running across the two parks due to having to travel around. 

Cr Grant says that the likelihood that an entirely new bridge will end up being built makes it a prime opportunity for community consultation on new additions and features. 

“Personally, I would envisage something coming off that top level so we have that disabled access and also mums with prams and the elderly so that they’re not having to climb stairs, with a ramp coming down the other side there,” Cr Grant said. 

Cr Grant also expressed support for previously discussed ideas about turning the parks into an athletics track. 

“Park runs are becoming very popular right now, so it would be great to have the opportunity to have that open for people to run around that.”

Mayor Ben Shields was contacted for comment, but was unable to respond before this story was published.