Corowa mayor hits at ‘abuse’ over bridge

THE battle for the route of the Yarrawonga-Mulwala replacement bridge has turned personal.

Corowa mayor Fred Longmire yesterday raised concerns about alleged tactics of those opposing his council’s preference for the grey route across Lake Mulwala.

“My concern is that residents are being intimidated and abused and that is not acceptable,” he said.

“People are also being misinformed.”

Cr Longmire said his comments were directed at those backing the green route, which have included Mulwala Progress Association and the Green Route lobby group.

Representatives from the two community-based groups declined to respond last night when contacted by The Border Mail.

But they indicated they would seek legal advice on the mayor’s comments.

Cr Longmire issued a press release stating he saw a long-standing community member “belittled” for voicing an opinion at the VicRoads presentation this week.

It was part of an additional and unscheduled round of community consultation to come up with a preferred bridge route.

“I hope every resident is able to feel proud of their opinion and comfortable being heard,” he said.

“VicRoads is undertaking an extensive consultation program to gauge real community opinion and to allow the less vocal members of the community to be professionally informed.

“The council is also confident VicRoads has the community interest in mind and fully considered all of the planning information.

“Corowa Shire is being portrayed very unreasonably by some as a result of having an informed opinion — this is often part of public life and council fully respects different views.”

Corowa general manager Chris Gillard shared Cr Longmire’s concerns even though he wasn’t present at the VicRoads presentation.

“When people will look back on the debate, I want the community to know the Corowa Council acted with good conscience, strategically and with integrity,” Mr Gillard said.

Cr Longmire and Mr Gillard re-affirmed council’s support of the grey route and looked forward to VicRoads and NSW RMS naming a preferred route in coming weeks.

VicRoads regional manager Bryan Sherritt said the extra consultation was needed to iron out “misinformation”.