Message from the Mayor: 2 December 2022

Published on 02 December 2022


You can read this week's Council Happenings here.

Hello, I'm John Connors, the mayor of the Dungog Shire, bringing you this week's mayoral message.

On Monday of this week, we had the pleasure of participating in the opening of Archinals Bridge, up towards the top of the Allyn River. This bridge is one of the 23 timber bridges that Council is replacing with funding from the NSW Government under the timber bridge replacement program.

The original bridge was opened in 1940 and the original bridge was opened or the ribbon was cut by a lady who was then Ruby Archinal. The bridge was named after the Archinal family back then and Ruby at the time was I think a four or five year old child who she says was pushed forward to cut the ribbon and open the bridge. She was there on Monday and she cut the ribbon to open the bridge.

She was accompanied on Monday by her brother Jim, who I think he's 90 years old, and numerous members of their family or their extended family and friends and associates who have lived in that neighbourhood for many, many years. It was a great day and I'm sure it was an even greater day for the Archinal family and their relatives and friends.

Council is now moving on with the building of further bridges. At the moment I think about 65% of the 23 bridges have either been completed or contracts have been let for their construction. So the program is well underway.

Regrettably over the weekend just gone, vandals struck Dungog again, and once again we've seen the results of irresponsible conduct from members of the community.

This time it was Frank Robinson Reserve and areas nearby that were impacted. Apparently a large group assembled in Frank Robinson Reserve and broke fencing to enable them to gain access to areas normally excluded to vehicles. But more importantly they erected fluro plastic netting and the road close on the Cooreei Bridge. In the early hours of the morning, a person travelling that road came across the road closed sign, fortunately was able to avoid an accident and removed it, whilst doing so he was heckled apparently, by the crowd that had gathered in Frank Robinson Reserve.

I can doing nothing more than extend the utmost criticism to this sort of behaviour. The incidents been reported to the police and I can only hope that they are able to take appropriate action. Again, I urge members of the community to whenever they see conduct of this type or other vandalism taking place, please report it to Council or more importantly, to the police.

Earlier in the week, Council was fortunate in receiving advice from the Minister for Regional Roads and Transport, confirming the Council had received $247,000 in out of the $50 million pothole funding that had recently been announced by the government. Council is unable to commence work at the moment, as prior to any money being spent Council is required to execute a funding agreement with Transport for NSW. And as is not uncommon, we have received advice of the funds but we haven't yet received the funding agreement. So we're not yet able to start spending that money.

It's hoped however to develop a program over the next few days within the next week, that will come to Council and will see the 50,000 spent appropriately and quickly throughout the shire. But unfortunately it won't go very far and won't solve the problem. We still have to acknowledge we're going to have potholes, like every other local government area and we're going to drive accordingly until such time as they’re repaired or ultimately, the roads are rehabilitated, which will take a significant period of time.

So, drive carefully, taking account of the road conditions that exist and goodbye and good luck until next time.

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