Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders is adamant the River Street Bridge project is the best solution for Dubbo, and he is not for changing.
We put it to Mr Saunders that the RMS has changed its plans for the parking at the front of the Victoria Street shops and it has also changed plans that would limit access to the Westside Tavern. Those changes are an admission the RMS, and the state government got initial plans wrong, so why can't they change plans for the River Street Bridge?
Mr Saunders' answer was simple; the bridge plan is the best to meet Dubbo's traffic needs now and into the future. The Dubbo MP claims those that are against the bridge are in the minority, they are loud, but they don't represent the majority of Dubbo voters.
Those that have signed a petition going around the town would disagree, but Mr Saunders says he believes there are a lot of quite supporters who won't speak up for fear of being shouted down by those not so quite opponents of the bridge.
There have been calls from some for a public forum so politicians from the local, state and federal arena can see the public disquiet firsthand. Mark Coulton said although it was a state issue he'd be happy to attend, as did our mayor, Mr Saunders was less enthusiastic because he believes those quiet supporters would not participate and only the loud opponents would, hence giving all and sundry a skewed vision of what the public really thinks.
Mr Saunders said people are attacking the bridge for what it is not purporting to be.
"Suggestions the bridge and the road being different heights don't make sense are wrong because the flood plain doesn't need to be at the same flood level as the actual bridge where the river runs and has the greatest force and the greatest height," he said. "What is required is to make sure the road is out of the flood zone, and the bridge is at 1 in 100-year flood level."
That all sounds fair enough, but some still claim the approaches to the bridge will be underwater in a 1 in 20-year flood so it won't be possible to get onto the bridge in that instance to use it.
This back and forth looks likely to continue right up until the first sod is turned on the project and perhaps beyond. The next election is three and half years away, and if Mr Saunders is re-elected, he'll say he was right, and those against the bridge were a minority if he loses some will say his steadfast stance for the bridge was his downfall. Time will tell.