Bridge over troubled water

June 19, 2020 BY

THE Surf Coast Shire council has heard concerns about a proposed bridge over Painkalac Creek.

Blazing Saddles Trail Rides have lodged plans for a bridge connecting their properties on each side of the creek.

The plans were on public exhibition in January and February this year, and drew 60 submissions from the community, 42 opposing the plans and 18 in support of them.

The council held a hearing of submissions meeting on Tuesday this week.

The construction of the bridge would allow Blazing Saddles to transfer horses directly from one paddock to another.

The business previously used the bridge on a nearby paddock to move their horses over the creek, but the land has since been subdivided and Blazing Saddles no longer own the land the existing bridge is on.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Blazing Saddles owner Caroline Wood said this has caused challenges with transferring horses between properties.

“At the moment we’re walking horses round Bambra Road, Old Coach Road and then Bimbadeen Drive and that takes us probably 35 minutes or more.

“It’s not safe, it’s not a good thing to do, and I certainly don’t want to put my staff in that situation. It’s not sustainable, sooner or later there will be an accident.”

Many of those in opposition expressed concerns about the environmental effects of the bridge, suggesting it may damage the local eco-system, and that horses walking near the creek could lead to erosion.

Other concerns raised include the bridge restricting kayakers and stand up paddleboarders, and the project possibly setting a precedent for future development in the area.

But Ms Wood said she was confident the proposed bridge would not negatively affect the community or the environment.

“We’ve had all the studies done. We’ve had arborist’s reports, we’ve had the council down to view the work, we’ve had Corangamite Catchment (Management Authority), and we’ll have DELWP (Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning) sooner or later if the plan goes through. It’s been a pretty heavily documented project so far.

“It won’t be environmentally damaging. We’ve actually got to put a fence up to round the horses through, we got to put in gates, get locks, we’ve got to put in ground covering, so we’ve got to put like a gridlock all the way through and gravel. It will be a full-on project and not one we’re going to take lightly.”

Ms Wood also noted the plans in place for the proposed bridge much more rigorous than the bridge they previously used prior to the paddocks’ subdivision.

The bridge they proposed would be made from treated pine and recycled timber, with the base made of steel.

The submissions on the proposal will be put into a report for councillors at the June 23 council meeting.