THE gala opening of the $9.3 million Seventh Avenue bridge has been labelled a “Liberal love-fest”, with claims locals were shut out of the celebrations.
Local traders and members of the Maylands residents and ratepayers’ association are feeling so disgruntled they’re considering running a belated bridge party for the public.
“It was basically a Liberal love-fest,” says Catherine Ehrhardt, owner of Railway Parade’s Blackcurrant clothing. “I mean why was Michael Sutherland there, he’s the MP for Mt Lawley.
“After 11 months of disruption while the bridge was being built, it would have been nice to reward locals with an invite and a little show of appreciation.
“Apart from a few representatives from a local committee that chose a public artwork for the bridge, hardly anyone from the community was invited.”
Ms Ehrhardt wryly adds locals have nicknamed the $85,000 public artwork, constructed from reclaimed jarrah from the old bridge, “The Gallows”.
Maylands Labor MP Lisa Baker was invited to the opening but declined. She later posted a cheeky dig about the event on the MRRA Facebook page.
“I had parliamentary committee responsibilities so my research office attended on my behalf. Glad I didn’t attend when I see how many liberals turned up for a picture! How embarrassing:! Most of the polis who were there have nothing to do with our community.”
Main Roads media adviser Stephanie Dahl wouldn’t tell the Voice how many locals were invited.
Ratepayers and residents association president Roger Tomlins was invited but says more locals should have been on the guest list.
“It seemed to be lots of politicians and councillors walking about in suits, and it was all a bit comical to be honest,” he says.
“I don’t think locals knew it was going to be opened on that day: there needed to be better communication with the community.
“There was some catering as well and a few folk in high-vis jackets.”
by STEPHEN POLLOCK