Lismore MP will 'go to the top' to save historic bridge
STAYING true to her pre-election promise Lismore MP Janelle Saffin says she will go to the top to try and save the historic Tabulam bridge.
The longest single-span timber bridge in the southern hemisphere will soon be demolished, despite objections from the local indigenous and non-indigenous communities.
Once the new $48 million Tabulam bridge is complete, the original 120-year-old bridge will be removed by the NSW Government because it costs too much to maintain, according to the RMS.
Three months ago, Tabulam grazier John Cousins started two petitions to stop the original Tabulam bridge from being removed - an 'Aboriginal petition' and a local community petition.
He said the Aboriginal petition had about 250 signatures so far and the local community petition had about 600.
Ms Saffin said she would raise in Parliament, at the "earliest opportunity", the dual issues of getting the bridge's heritage status relisted and its possible retention as a non-vehicular bridge.
The next sitting week is from May 29.
"NSW Roads and Maritime maintains the old bridge should be removed for safety reasons, but I know Tabulam's indigenous and non-indigenous communities share a strong cultural and social attachment to the bridge, built in 1899," Ms Saffin said.
"During and just after the recent State election, I had contact with John Cousins, who explained the deep significance of those links and the case which the Jubullum Local Aboriginal Lands Council has made to the NSW Government.
"It will not be easy to save the bridge but a community petition with over 800 signatories across two petitions is a good indicator that local people want the bridge kept as a historical landmark with tourism potential."
When The Northern Star's asked what she thought should happen to the structure when it was removed, Ms Saffin said "this clearly was not what the community desired".
"However, there are examples of public structures being removed while allowing for critical parts of them to be kept and formed into a local monument," she said.
This morning, Page MP Kevin Hogan took to social media to express his support of saving the bridge, posting on Facebook "The heritage value of this is important. I will work with my State colleagues if I'm re-elected to try and save this bridge".
The RMS have been approached for further comment regarding when the old Tabulam bridge is set to be removed and what will become of the bridge's structure upon removal.