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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 December 2021) . . Page.. 3960 ..

MR MILLIGAN: Minister, how much financial compensation is the government paying YMCA New South Wales due to the pool’s closure?

MS BERRY: I will take that question on notice.

Umbagong District Park—facilities

MS CLAY: My question is to the minister for city services. Minister, can you provide an update on planning and works for new and improved footbridges in Umbagong park in Latham?

MR STEEL: I thank Ms Clay for her question. As she would be aware, the ACT government understands the real importance of Umbagong District Park, both culturally and as a place of recreation for the community. That is why it has been disappointing that three bridges in the park have been closed. That came about as a result of the ACT government undertaking checks on the bridges. Those inspections revealed safety issues. As a result those bridges have been closed for the time being.

We are now undertaking detailed investigations of the ecological values of the area. That is part of the necessary due diligence that is required before we look at the replacement bridges to be provided in this area. This work will continue. I look forward to updating the community, as this work progresses, on how that might affect the timing of the provision of replacement bridges.

MS CLAY: Minister, can you tell me when you expect works to commence and when they might be completed?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for her supplementary. This is subject to the work that is required. We know that Umbagong park reserve contains ecological values that may be matters of national environmental significance, and that may be protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. As a result of those cultural and heritage values, we need to undertake an ecological survey and heritage assessment to address those issues, ahead of undertaking design work that is required.

We look forward to consulting with the community going forward. If we do need to replace those bridges with new bridges, we will be consulting with the community on those designs. I look forward to updating the community as things progress, but we certainly understand the inconvenience that this poses to people using the park. We ask that they do not use the bridges, which are signposted.

I also acknowledge that this matter has been raised with me by both the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Berry, and Minister Cheyne. I know constituents have been raising it with them. On the basis of those representations, we have been making sure that any vandalism to the fencing blocking off these bridges has been addressed, and we will continue to keep an eye on that going forward, whilst we work on the ultimate rectification works and possible new bridges over the creek.

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