The NSW Government has released a recommended proposal to memorialise the much-loved Prince Alfred Bridge in Gundagai, with members of the Gundagai community invited to provide feedback on the designs.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the proposal was developed following the assessment of the over 140 ideas put forward by Gundagai residents in September last year.
“The proposal recommends a memorial using salvaged timber, wire sculptures, historic photos and information, and technology to remember the bridge,” Ms Cooke said.
“The memorial concept aims to commemorate the bridge’s heritage, cultural and social significance while creating a new tourism site for Gundagai.”
“I strongly encourage Gundagai residents to provide feedback on the design to ensure it accurately reflects the massive role the Prince Alfred Bridge once played in the community.”
The memorial concept has been developed by consultant heritage architects Conrad Gargett in a Heritage Landscape Interpretation Strategy commissioned by the NSW Government.
Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson said the NSW Government is investing in Gundagai community by establishing this historic memorial.
“A big part of why people visit country towns like Gundagai is for the historic charm and that is why the NSW Government has committed to this memorial for the Prince Alfred Bridge,” Mr Anderson said.
“This will give people another reason to visit Gundagai, bringing money into the community and in turn creating valuable jobs.”
The recommended memorial would include features at the north end of the former bridge site off Sheridan Street as part of the Gundagai Heritage Walk, which would direct visitors to a second memorial site located on the floodplain.
It would include:
· A public viewing area off Sheridan Street. Timber gates made from salvaged timber would create a viewing point to a floating wire art sculpture that creates a 3D visual impression of the former bridge, looking toward a reinstated bridge trestle on the floodplain. Rustic seating would be provided using salvaged timber from the former bridge.
· An information panel at the viewing area with bridge photos, residents’ quotes, and a QR code to more online photos, information and a fly-through augmented reality experience recreating sights and sounds of the former bridge.
· Visitor access will be improved to the viewing area with car parking spaces, pedestrian crossings, line markings, bollards created from salvaged timber, and tourist signage.
· The reinstated bridge trestle on the floodplain at O.I. Bell Drive would feature a second elevated wire sculpture recreating motor vehicles crossing the bridge, a second information panel, a deconstructed timber deck at ground level, and more rustic timber seating.
Community feedback on the concept can be made online from Tuesday 17 May until Tuesday 31 May, or in person on Tuesday 17 May at Gundagai’s Foodworks and Woolworths (10.30-11am), Gundagai Services Club and Gundagai Library (12-1pm), or Gundagai Public School and Gundagai High School from (3-3.30pm). Once the community consultation period ends feedback will be assessed and the concept finalised. For further information and to provide feedback, please visit: Prince Alfred Bridge Memorial.
The final design for the new permanent bridge at Wallendbeen has been completed and construction is expected to begin later this year.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said this is welcome news for residents and transport operators who have been living with a temporary single-lane steel bridge after a wet weather event severely damaged the original road-over-rail bridge last year.
“With about 1000 vehicles travelling along this road corridor in each direction every day, the new bridge will bring improved travel times as it returns a two-lane crossing to motorists,” Ms Cooke said.
“The new permanent bridge has been designed to Australian Standards for bridge design, and will be wider than both the original and temporary bridge, able to accommodate B-Doubles and even larger trucks.”
“Construction is expected to begin later this year. This timeframe allows for the tender advertisement and evaluation period, the contract award and site preparation.”
“Once construction starts, it is estimated the bridge will take about a year to complete, weather permitting.”
The original two-lane bridge was removed in March last year after being damaged from a wet weather event.
Transport for NSW installed a single-lane temporary steel bridge in October 2021 to get traffic back on Burley Griffin Way as quickly as possible.
The temporary bridge will remain in place while the new bridge is built.
Transport will contact the community later this year with further information when a start date is confirmed.
Motorists will soon be better protected along the Olympic Highway with safety barriers to be installed between Cowra and Albury from Monday, 21 March 2022.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the State Government has provided $1.5 million under the Saving Lives on Country Roads program for important safety upgrades to help keep motorists safe on our regional roads.
“Flexible safety barriers absorb the impact felt by drivers and their passengers when a crash occurs, minimising the chance of serious injury or death,” Ms Cooke said.
“They are installed on roadsides with the highest risk such as significant curves and steep embankments because they have been found to reduce the severity of high risk, head-on, and run-off road crashes by 95 per cent.”
About eight kilometres of new barrier will be installed in sections between Cowra and Albury, with most of the work concentrated between Cootamundra and Cowra.
From 21 March 2022 motorists are advised of changed traffic conditions including single lane closures, reduced speed limits of 40 km/h and traffic control.
Work to install the barriers will be carried out Monday to Friday from 7am to 6pm, and Saturdays from 8am to 4pm. Work is expected to take eight weeks to complete, weather permitting.
Motorists are advised to follow the direction of traffic control and to allow an extra five minutes travel time.
Transport for NSW thanks motorists for their patience during this time.
For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit livetraffic.com or call 132 701.
Cootamundra residents looking for a delicious, hot, home cooked meal will now be able to do so in comfortable conditions all year round, thanks to a $6,000 grant awarded to the Cootamundra Community Kitchen from the NSW Government.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke visited the Cootamundra Community Kitchen last week to pass on the good news to dedicated volunteers Elaine Berryman and Anne McNally.
“I am so proud to have supported this project which will see the safe social space greatly enhanced so it can be utilised all year round, and provide comfortable conditions for both volunteers and community members through the installation of new heating and cooling systems,” Ms Cooke said.
“The Cootamundra Community Kitchen has played an integral part in the community for over 12 years now and has provided thousands of meals to individuals and families.”
The community group who operates out of the Cootamundra Ministry Hub, serves up to 100 meals every Wednesday to locals.
Cootamundra Community Kitchen Public Officer Sam McNally said the kitchens environment has evolved over the years.
“We have found over the years that there as much as there is a need for the physical aspect of nourishment, there is a much greater need of social inclusion and sense of community and belonging,” Ms McNally said.
“The Cootamundra Community Kitchen has been operating for almost 12 years. We have been serving the community every Wednesday in school terms, a 2 course meal. These meals are free of charge and are available to any individual, no questions asked.”
“We have aspired to move away from the typical ‘soup kitchen’ line up, to a restaurant style service. Our heart is to show community that they are valued and to support them in their current situation through food and friendship.”
“We greatly appreciate both local and state members for the donation to assist us in providing reverse cycle systems for our space. This will allow community to continue to meet together, despite the extreme elements we can experience in Cootamundra. As a not for profit, relying solely on donations, the cost of this has been a pipe dream until now. We are extremely grateful to be able to extend another layer of consistency to the vulnerable of our community.”
Ms Cooke said the kitchens success would not be possible without its selfless army of volunteers who give up their time to support the community.
“Numerous local business donate food supplies to the kitchen each week so it is evident how appreciated the organisation is within the town and the vital service they provide to the community.”
The $6,000 grant provided by the NSW Government will further boost the project funds that were donated to the kitchen from the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council in 2020.
The NSW Government has commissioned a heritage expert to memorialise the Prince Alfred Bridge at Gundagai.
Conrad Gargett Group Pty Ltd will assess community feedback and identify the most appropriate tribute for the timber road viaduct.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the nearly 140 memorial ideas that had been submitted by members of the community, will now be thoroughly assessed to ensure that the most appropriate tribute is chosen.
“A Heritage Interpretation Strategy will be prepared in consultation with the community, Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council and other key stakeholders to identify a heritage memorialisation for the much-loved bridge,” Ms Cooke said.
“I look forward to seeing the outcome of this strategy, one which I am sure will encompass the fond memories of the bridge held by Gundagai residents.”
The Department of Planning and Environment – Crown Lands and Transport for NSW dismantled the timber road viaduct in November last year due to safety issues.
Engineering assessments had found the bridge, which has not operated since 1984, was structurally unsound and at risk of collapsing in a flood.
More than 460 cubic metres of timber was salvaged from the bridge for potential future use.
Some of the heritage memorial ideas put forward through a community survey include:
- Picnic wharf over the Murrumbidgee River, a small replica of the former bridge, pedestrian bridges in local parks, or a boardwalk.
- Viewing platform over the floodplain and bridge route, or at local lookouts.
- Planting an avenue of trees and a walking track along the bridge route.
- Artistic sculpture for a tourism attraction, like the Dog on the Tuckerbox.
- Street or park furniture including seats and tables.
- Stylish industrial timber arbour leading to a memorial.
- Interactive display with photos, videos and information on the bridge’s history.
- Virtual reality or QR-code display, or 3D laser memorial to light up the sky.
- Construction of a town Christmas tree for display each year.
To learn more about the project including the community’s feedback, visit here.
The Hume Highway transformation at Snowball Creek is moving forward with work on the crossover at Jessops Lagoon Road now complete, and road rehabilitation about to begin.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said work on the $500,000 crossover, seven kilometres south of Gundagai, has been carried out for the past month and will enable southbound traffic to be diverted onto the northbound lanes in a contraflow to allow the next stage of work – a $5 million pavement rehabilitation.
“This work will go a long way to improving safety and efficiency along this stretch of the Hume Highway,” Ms Cooke said.
“It also marks Stage 3 of the complete rebuild and resurface of the Hume Highway to extend its life, improve the surface, and reduce further maintenance costs on this popular stretch of road in regional NSW.”
This latest work will bring the NSW Government investment in this project to $12 million provided under the asset maintenance funding program, with plans for an extra $7 million of future work until 2024.
Work on the crossover is now complete and has opened the way for the pavement rehabilitation on a 1.8 kilometre section of the southbound carriageway to start on Monday 7 February.
During this stage of the work, speed restrictions will be in place with lane closures on both carriageways as they start to set up the contraflow by Saturday 12 February.
From then, southbound lanes will be closed, with traffic to merge under contraflow at the new Jessops Lagoon crossover and south of the Fullers Lane crossover.
There will be no access to Jessops Lagoon Road from the Hume Highway during this stage of the work with motorists advised to travel via Gocup Road, Mount Street, Cross Street or Eagle Street, which will add an extra 10 minutes to journeys.
Work will be carried out between 6am and 11pm Monday to Friday and is expected to be completed by the end of April, weather permitting.
A temporary reduced speed limit of 60 km/h will also be in place for the duration of this work for the safety of workers and motorists.
Motorists are advised to drive to the conditions, allow extra travel time, and follow the directions of signs and traffic control.
Transport for NSW thanks the community for their patience during this time.
For the latest traffic information, visit www.livetraffic.com, download the live traffic app or call the Transport Management Centre on 132 701.
Seniors in the Cootamundra electorate will have even more reason to celebrate during the 2022 Seniors Festival with the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council winning a share of $200,000 in NSW Government funding to host a community event.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said local events aimed at engaging older people are a highlight of the Seniors Festival.
“Our seniors play a vital role in our community as volunteers, carers and grandparents and we want to recognise and reward their contribution with activities tailored to their interests,” Ms Cooke said.
“Local seniors are sure to enjoy the great variety of events planned in the region to celebrate the Seniors Festival in 2022.”
Minister for Seniors Natalie Ward said 92 groups across NSW have been awarded grants of between $450 and $10,000 to provide opportunities for older people to participate in their communities.
“We’re supporting the programs that assist older people to be healthy and active as they age,” Mrs Ward said.
“The events and activities will take place during NSW Seniors Festival from 25 March−3 April next year and provide older people with cultural, creative, sporting and recreational opportunities.”
Cootamundra-Gundagai Mayor Abb McAlister said they would use their $8,000 funding boost to host a Seniors Expo in Cootamundra and Seniors Fair in Gundagai.
“We’re putting on cultural tours, rug making, history walks, sports and even a pamper party. Keeping active and engaged is key to a long and happy life,” Mr McAlister said.
Mrs Ward said the grants align with the NSW Government’s commitment to older residents, under the Ageing Well in NSW: Seniors Strategy 2021–2031.
For more information about the 2022 NSW Seniors Festival visit seniorsfestival.nsw.gov.au
Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke today welcomed a key milestone for the
NSW Government-funded redevelopment of the Gundagai Preschool Kindergarten.
The project has reached the tender stage which means it is a significant step closer
to the commencement of construction.
Director of Gundagai Preschool Kindergarten, Stacey Smith said the project team is
absolutely delighted to have the tender for construction now live and on the open
“This step makes the build seem that little more real, and that little more achievable,”
Mrs Smith said.
In order for preschoolers to continue their learning with minimal disruption and to
maintain safety, the redevelopment will be completed in two stages.
“The call to carry out the two-stage construction for the project is a substantial
achievement for the Gundagai community and it’s just fantastic to see this key point
being reached,” Ms Cooke said.
Excitingly, Stage 1 involves the construction of the new main preschool building and
carpark, with staff and children relocating from their existing premises to the new
building prior to the commencement of Stage two.
Stage two will see the old preschool building demolished and the construction of the
remaining planned buildings.
“On behalf of the preschool community, I would like to share my gratitude and
excitement. The new preschool project has been a long term plan for Gundagai
Preschool Kindergarten Inc. and a permanent fixture within the preschool’s strategic
plan,” Mrs Smith said.
“It has been a joint effort with many hours being clocked-up by our local member
Steph Cooke, staff at the Gundagai-Cootamundra Regional Council and the amazing
Preschool Committee both past and present to reach this milestone.”
The NSW State Government is funding the construction of the brand new community
preschool for the town which draws young children from surrounding areas.
Since 2018, Gundagai has received over $2 million in funding for the redevelopment
of the Gundagai Preschool Kindergarten, largely under the 2019 Start Strong Capital
Works Grants Program, designed to increase the number of preschool places
available in areas of need and demand.
“We want to ensure that our community has a high quality facility. A facility that is
purpose built, innovative, flexible, and provides an opportunity for quality learning
and support to children and families,” Mrs Smith said.
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell said early
childhood education is essential and this preschool will help generations of young
children grow the foundations to succeed in life.
”I’m thrilled that the new preschool in Gundagai is progressing thanks to a $1.5
million investment from the NSW Government,” Ms Mitchell added.
Ms Cooke said the new building on First Avenue, will help ensure that more children
receive superior early education services in improved facilities.
“This wonderful preschool community has outgrown the existing building, where the
much-loved preschool has been operating for over half a century. It is a new era and
such an exciting time for Gundagai,” Ms Cooke said.
In a further boost for the local community, the project will create more jobs through
the construction phase and beyond, with added flow on effects for the local
Ms Cooke said each milestone reached in this project is a tribute to the hard work of
Director Stacey Smith, the Preschool Committee and staff at the centre.
“They have worked tirelessly for years and it’s an honour to celebrate this latest
news with them.”