All of Clarence Valley’s councilors, apart from Cr Greg Clancy, have backed deputy mayor Jason Kingsley’s idea, to replace the Lawrence Bluff Point ferry with a bridge.
As a result, Clarence Valley Council (CVC) will write to a bevy of federal and NSW politicians and the Lawrence Bridge Action Group (LBAG).
In his Notice of Motion (NOM) advice to councilors, Cr Kingsley wrote that there had been “no less than three bridge committee/bridge action groups formed since the 1970s, with the most recent, LBAG, forming in 2018”.
“LBAG met with Transport for NSW in 2018, presenting three different locations for a new bridge to replace the existing ferries,” Cr Kingsley wrote.
“Following this meeting, TfNSW requested Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to carry out a viability study.
“…The viability study and construction cost have now been completed and LBAG [is] seeking council’s support … to build a new bridge and replace the two ferries.”
Cr Kingsley advised councilors that “the cost of a new bridge is estimated at approximately $110 million” and that if the ferries’ operational costs are taken into account, “it could be reasonably assumed that, over time, funding a new bridge would, on balance, be a more cost-effective solution than the current annual operating and maintenance costs of a ferry”.
Cr Clancy’s argument against the idea was personal and sentimental.
“You’re not taking my ferry away,” he said.
“We’ve lost them all up and down the coast … people who move [to Lawrence] move there because of the ferry.
“…The fact is ferries are a part of Clarence’s life and have a high level of tourism use.
“A trip across the river is wonderful and a good time to reflect after a council meeting.”
Cr Lysaught “commended” Cr Kingsley’s NOM and said he hoped “to live long enough” to see it. Cr Cr Williamson also commended the NOM; however, he said he hoped the decision would not “give false hope” and that there were “some very difficult issues to overcome”.
“But if you want to have a crack, have a crack,” he said.