Dowson: A dud deal

Fremantle Society president John Dowson.

THE McGowan government and its bridge-building Main Roads department have hoodwinked Fremantle residents into thinking they’ve had a win over the Fremantle Traffic Bridge, says the Fremantle Society.

Society president John Dowson emailed members a photograph of planning minister Rita Saffioti and federal MP Josh Wilson from a year ago announcing the go-ahead for the bridge replacement – and holding a Main Roads image showing the new alignment in exactly the same position as announced on Monday morning.

Mr Dowson suspects the department invented the highly unpopular eastern crossing so it could appear to be listening to the community by dropping it, but ultimately delivering the option it wanted in the first place – but denying locals any option of saving the heritage-listed bridge.

“Main Roads were so careless in their press release yesterday it actually stated they originally intended for both the new rail and vehicle bridges to go east of the wooden bridge – a physical impossibility,” Mr Dowson said.

“The community has been fooled by the two step shuffle, a common developers’ trick, and left feeling grateful they have been listened to.”

Mr Dowson queried whether Mr Wilson was still advocating for the old bridge to remain as a “concert venue and family picnic area” as he had in 2018 (“Chorus for new bridge,” Herald, September 8).

The Herald hasn’t spoken directly with Mr Wilson on the bridge issue, but a staff member said he’d become more aware of the structural problems with the old bridge and the difficulties in retaining it.

by STEVE GRANT

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