The Kenwood Drive bridge replacement push has taken another step with all eyes set to be on the council meeting in two months' time.
Councillors on Wednesday, July 15 unanimously requested a further report to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's September 2020 meeting.
The report is set to outline the process and costs involved in reviewing the findings of the 2011 Lake Cathie/Lake Innes Estuary Hydrodynamic Model Development and Investigation report and developing a program for the replacement or augmentation of Kenwood Drive bridge to improve water levels and sediment transport within areas between Lake Cathie and the entrance.
It comes after all councillors voted in support of a motion, put forward by mayor Peta Pinson in June, for the general manager to give consideration to the development of concept designs for the bridge as part of council's 2020-2021 operational plan.
But a recommendation in the July council meeting agenda proposed the council review the prioritisation of the bridge widening.
Councillors decided to move the Kenwood Drive bridge matter ahead by requesting the report to the September council meeting in a step towards a solution.
Cr Pinson said there had been a very heated conversation around the lake's management for a long time.
"We recognise we are as a council responsible for flooding issues and very little else," she said.
Cr Pinson said the council was responsible for infrastructure like roads and bridges.
She said Kenwood Drive bridge was thought by many in the community, and she agreed, to be part of the flood water and tidal flow problem.
The mayor, who is a strong advocate for the lake and finding a solution to the Kenwood Drive bridge problem, spoke about the bridge's detrimental impact on the lake.
Cr Pinson said the council needed to devote the time it deserved to really go through the hydrodynamic model.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann said it was apparent to her there was a fairly clear understanding that they needed to widen, as in lengthen, the gap available for tidal flow by about three or four of the existing bridge lengths.
"Let's proceed with looking at the concept design for it at this stage rather than waiting for the Coastal Management Program in the next year," she said.
Cr Lee Dixon added: "I would like to say, let the flow go."
Community groups Revive Lake Cathie and Saving Lake Cathie have lobbied the council to widen Kenwood Drive bridge to improve tidal flows in the lake and believe the action is central to ensuring better long-term water quality.
Kenwood Drive bridge was built in the 1970s.
The report to the July 15 meeting examined the impact of undertaking concept designs.
The Kenwood Drive bridge ranks 86th of the 140 bridges in the local government area in terms of condition.
The average costs of a bridge concept design, including geotechnical investigations and a detailed site survey, are about $100,000.
"Unfortunately, this project could not be included in the 2020-2021 operational plan unless another similar project is deferred," the report said.
The council is working on the development of a Coastal Management Program, which aims to provide a long term, coordinated strategy for managing the coastal zone.
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