‘It’s our history’: Community outrage over demolition plans
PLANS to demolish a historical railway bridge at Theodore have sparked community outrage.
Theodore's Chamber of Commerce said it was shocked and surprised at the Transport Department's decision to demolish the Castle Creek Rail Bridge.
"People who found out only on Friday, October 2, that the demolition was due in the next two to three weeks are surprised or shocked," the chamber said in a statement.
"They immediately hoped it can be saved.
"For older people, who once knew the Dawson Valley Line as the only reliable transport to the eastern seaboard, there is a mixture of sadness and a sense of inevitability given the changes that have taken place in recent decades."
The bridge was built in 1927, five years after the township of Theodore was founded, and was used to transport freight, cattle and people.
The chamber's Facebook post regarding news of the bridge's imminent demolition received over 150 comments.
The chamber said this indicated the community's support of trying to save the bridge.
It said it had not yet met to discuss possible resistance to the planned demolition.
"Until that happens, there is no plan to start a petition, though, of course, individuals
may choose to do so," the chamber said.
"Urgent requests were emailed over the weekend to advise both the Department and Minister for Transport of concern that there had been no consultation with the community, particularly
considering the approach of the upcoming celebrations of the town's centenary.
"A hundred years ago, the completion of the Dawson Valley Line was a pivotal event in the establishment of the town and district as a viable enterprise."
The Chamber said plans to use the bridge as a feature on a bikeway to encourage visitors to stay a few days longer, and locals to exercise safely, would be dashed.
"The bridge has been envisaged as part of the Centennial walkway and a point of difference for our town," it said.
"Part of future-proofing rural communities lies in attracting tourists and generating income. "This is done by providing tourists with sites and opportunities that pique their interest and this bridge will do that.
"Days lost because tourists move on sooner rather than later are an economic opportunity gone."
The Chamber said the Transport Department (sic) was spending money to have the bridge demolished, but it believed the department had a better use for those funds.
"We believe it could have better spent that money preserving the sturdy structure in consultation and co-operation with the Theodore community," the chamber said.
"Just as a small token of gratitude for the productive commerce that once made the Dawson Valley Line a highly profitable enterprise for the State Government.
"This bridge might belong to someone else, but it's our history."
The Transport Department has been contacted for comment.