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Statement to Swan City Council - Lloyd St Bridge (Dorinda Cox)

Extract of Dorinda Cox at Swan City Council Meeting (02-Mar-2022)

I am here this evening to read an extract from a personal statement written this week by 3 of the 7 Whadjuk people involved in the consultation that led to the bridge’s section 18 approval.

They have asked me for my help in giving them a voice. These are their words and their truth of this bridge.

“We learned from the Helena River Alliance what the new bridge will look like. We were very upset because it does not include any of the things we asked for. The bridge will still be built in the same place, it will still infill most of the floodplain, the billabong will be buried in a pipe and there will still be pylons in the river.

It is not true to say that we approved this bridge.

We were told that a bridge had to be built but we did not agree to this and we don’t understand how it got approval. We thought it would be a long suspended bridge connected to the roads that were already built, with very little infill in the floodplain.

We have now learned that the floodplain will be buried with at least 100,000 metres cubed  of infill. We were not told about that and we were not told about the pylons that will be inside the embankments. To us, the river includes everything from one bank to the other bank – the floodplain is the same as the river. From what we have learned, the bridge will have 150+ pylons inside the embankments. This is the opposite of what we asked Main Roads for. The pylons have just been hidden from our view.

It was unfair to ask us to review so much information in just a few days. It was overwhelming and stressful to make decisions on site and the information given to us was difficult to understand and confusing.

We felt pressured into making a final decision without being able to go away and think about it or talk about it with our families.

We do not understand why we were not allowed to meet in a room so we could sit and talk properly about the design. The long days on site made the consultation and decision making even more difficult.

Throughout this process, we felt at loggerheads with Main Roads and that it did not matter that we didn’t want a bridge because it would be built anyway. We felt forced into choosing a bridge design when we did not want one in the first place. We felt we had no choice but to agree to whatever sounded like the best option to protect the river without really being able to understand what that best option was.

Ultimately, we feel that this bridge has been forced on us without proper consideration of how much destruction it will cause.

We feel that our views have been misrepresented and our culture and knowledge disrespected. None of the recommendations we made were listened to and we were left out of the final design.

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