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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Wilsons Creek residents fear flooding could destroy bridge

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The large tree threatening the Parmenters Road bridge. Photo Frank Lynch
The large tree threatening the Parmenters Road bridge. Photo Frank Lynch

Byron Shire Council is in a wrangle with residents of Parmenters Road, Wilsons Creek, who say a large tree threatens to take out a bridge, cutting off access to seven residences.

The tree jammed against the bridge in the late March flood and in the recent flood more debris has lodged in it and against the bridge.

According to residents, the right heavy machinery would be able to remove it quickly.

Residents group spokesperson Frank Lynch say the group has ‘asked Byron Shire Council, RMS, DPI (as it is water catchment) and most recently the SES to assist – so far without any results but with a lot of “avoidance diplomacy”.’

‘One of the latest bits of avoidance diplomacy was from Council Works Department, who tell us that we “just hire someone to remove it”. The trouble with that advice is that it requires permission from Crown lands before any work is done by private authorities in and around rivers. Understandably this permission is itself a drawn-out process especially where water catchments are involved.’

But a spokesperson for Byron Shire Council says it’s not responsible because it is a private bridge,

Nevertheless, the spokesperson said, the council is trying to help residents.

The council’s director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway, said staff had been liaising with Mr Lynch over his concerns.

‘The bridge at the Parmenters Road is a private bridge that crosses Wilsons Creek and connects to a private access. And as Mr Lynch noted, it is a Crown waterway and therefore requires approvals,’ Mr Holloway said.

He added that staff were applying on behalf of the landowners to the natural disaster funding for assistance.

‘As it is a private access, we are unsure if the bridge would be eligible, however council are assisting where we can,’ he said.

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  1. Talk about bureaucratic nonsense! I checked the meaning of the word and was quite amazed at the explanation and thought how this fitted this safety situation – an official in a government department, in particular one perceived as being concerned with procedural correctness at the expense of people’s needs.

  2. In a situation such as this surely there is a simple solution…..self determination. In the good old days when there was no one else to ask for ‘funding, permission etc’ that is what would have happened. If it was my access I know that the tree would have managed to disintegrate and clear itself by now.


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