3 June 2018

Community concern results in new look platypus viewing platform at Bombala

| Ian Campbell
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Platypus’ are a common sight at dusk and dawn in Bombala.

The platypus’ of Bombala are real, something I think many struggle to believe. Snowy Monaro Regional Council is moving to make sure locals and visitors can fully appreciate the simple spectacle these freaks of nature offer at dawn and dusk.

New plans have been released for community comment following disappointment with the work already done on the $50,000 riverside platypus viewing platform just back from Bombala’s main street.

In a Notice of Motion to Council’s February 15 meeting, Bombala Councillor, Anne Maslin expressed her frustration with the project which was completed in November 2017.

“The aim of this Motion is to ensure that the failure of planning we have witnessed in the Bombala Riverside Platform cannot happen again with other projects,” Cr Maslin wrote.

“The Platform was built without being Safety compliant, without being engineering compliant, and without stakeholders, e.g. Chamber of Commerce and Community seeing the design of the structure.

“The timber used in the structure appears to be starting to split,” Cr Maslin claimed.

“The first anyone in the community knew of the final design was when it was being constructed.”

Platypus Viewing Platform

Completed in November 2017, the Platypus Viewing Platform is being reworked. Photo: SMRC.

At Council’s meeting one month later, the Group Manager Transport Infrastructure (Operations) presented a report to Councilors that in many respects echoed the concerns previously expressed by Cr Maslin, and looked to make good on the project.

“A full review of documentation, including meeting minutes, correspondence between staff/former staff, Councillors/former Councillors of Bombala Shire Council and Manager Construction Snowy Monaro Regional Council would support the view that this project was not conducted following Council process and that a considerable amount of pressure was applied to deliver a project that was under-scoped, under-funded, under-resourced and lacked any real community consultation process,” the Group Manager’s report said.

Platypus Viewing Platform design

The redesign of the Platypus Viewing Platform is out for public comment. Image: SMRC.

The frank assessment talks of “valuable lessons” learnt for future projects and importantly looks to resolve this issue for Bombala and what will be a drawcard for the town. Councillors subsequently voted in favour of incorporating a new look viewing platform into the Therry Street redevelopment with plans released this week.

“The viewing platform will be redesigned to better reflect the community’s expectations for the site,” Snowy Monaro Regional Mayor, John Rooney says.

“We have engaged a professional landscape designer to re-evaluate the viewing platform. This will ensure it meets the evolving needs of the community and attracts visitors to Bombala.”

About Regional asked Snowy Monaro Regional Council how much more money will be invested into the site to bring it up to scratch and deliver on the redesign.

Project Manager Linda Nicholson advises, “The redesign is still in its concept design phase. Following this, the project will enter the detailed design and construction phase where a clearer picture of costings will be determined.”


Comment on the redesign closes on June 14. Image: SMRC.

Council says the redesigned viewing platform will create an accessible community space, as well as offering a unique opportunity to spot one of Australia’s most loved and unique animals: The Platypus.

A brief survey on Council’s website seeks the community’s first impressions of the redesign to determine if the new project is heading in the right direction.

Feedback will close on Thursday, June 14.

*This article first appeared on RiotACT

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