Special area rate ‘unfair’

Many Ellenbrook and surrounding residents say the special area rate applied to fund the new $12.1 million bridge is unfair. Some claimed they first knew about the bridge only on receiving their rates and did not get a chance to have their say on the funding options passed by the council on May 31.

The bridge, set for completion in 2017-18, will cater for an estimated 10,000 people who will move into the 3200 homes planned for land north of The Vines.

Developer contributions will fund 41 per cent of the bridge’s construction while City of Swan and ratepayers from Ellenbrook to Bullsbrook will fund the remaining $7.2 million or 59 per cent.

City of Swan chief executive Mike Foley said the share of developer’s contribution was based on a traffic study.

‘(The study) indicated this was the potential percentage of traffic using the bridge attributable to new developments in the area,’ he said.

‘Without additional entry or exit points for the residents and visitors to the area, there is potential for congestion as issues of safety on local roads,’ he said. Residents on social media say the project should be State Government or developer funded.

One comment read: ‘My issue isn’t with them building the bridge, it is with them slugging us with some of the cost when that is something that should already be covered by rates.’

City of Swan Mayor Charlie Zannino said the City considered a range of options to determine the best way to fund the bridge.

‘In this instance, the funding is shared by developers, as well as the City which will contribute 30 cents for every dollar collected through the SAR for the construction of this bridge,’ he said.

‘The funds raised from this SAR can only be used for this purpose and cannot be shifted to another project by a future council.’