• Loddon Herald

Connect 'for future'

RESIDENTS fear for New-bridge’s future unless the town is connected to water and sewerage.

Members of a sub-committee formed by the town’s recreation reserve committee have now met with Ripon MP Louise Staley advocating for the scheme first mooted in 2006.

Ken O’Shea says there are 139 quarter-acre blocks in a town plan from more than a century ago ready for building..

“We’re not talking sub-divisions, the blocks are there now. But owners really can’t do anything with them until services are connected,” he said,

“We need the services as an incentive for people, young families, to come and live here.”

He said installation of water and sewerage services had been estimated at $5.5 million in 2018.

“We could potentially have another 500 or 600 people living here on the blocks that are already on the town plan,” he said.

“That would bring benefits for business, for the sporting clubs and for the nearby Tarnagulla Primary School, ensuring its future enrolments.

“The project would bring benefits for the district. It ticks all the boxes for what Coliban is there to provide and development would not impose on rural ground or need a sub-division.” Mr O’Shea said the local group’s efforts had received encouragement from Ms Staley and Loddon Shire’s Tarnagulla Ward councillor Linda Jungwirth.

He said a survey of residents had identified strong support for the town’s connection to water and sewerage, particularly on the west side of the Loddon River.

“And Ms Staley has stated her support of our efforts and we have discussed options for the presentation of our plans.”

Mr O’Shea said: “It should be obvious that the project would be of benefit to the district.”

Council said this week an updated 2019 business case identified that proposed investment in a public sewerage scheme would generate a suite of benefits including environmental outcomes, public health outcomes and socio-economic benefits.

“Future funding opportunities would most likely be sought from the State Government, as federal funding is not generally available for water infrastructure,” council said. “The business case has been developed to assist council with its future advocacy on behalf of the community of Newbridge for funding opportunities”

Coliban Water was contacted for comment.

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