Community groups and local councils have welcomed NSW Heritage Minister Robyn Parker’s decision to place Glebe Island Bridge on the state’s heritage list.
But the move has sparked resistance from the government’s roads minister, Duncan Gay, who recommended it be demolished based on an independent cost-benefit analysis.
Ms Parker said the bridge, which is one of only two operable bridges of its kind in NSW, is a significant part of the local landscape.
“Glebe Island Bridge has been an important item of infrastructure in the history of Sydney for more than 90 years,” Ms Parker said.
A spokesperson for the City of Sydney said the bridge could be re-imagined.
“As the Bays Precinct continues to grow, the bridge could give residents convenient walking and cycling options,” the spokesperson said.
The decision has also won praise from Leichhardt Council. Labor Mayor Darcy Byrne previously criticised the report which recommended the bridge’s demolition, labelling it “incoherent and incomplete”.
“We are delighted that the Minister for Heritage has added her protection to this iconic piece of infrastructure that could easily become a viable commuter link for the city once again,” he said.
John Gray, President of the Glebe Society, said a restored bridge could carry trams if properly engineered.
The roads minister has previously warned about “ramifications” from heritage listing the site. His office told City News one benefit of removing the bridge would be to wash out the local bays.
“The quality of water in Blackwattle Bay is not as good as it could be because it can’t be flushed properly due to the configuration of the bridge structure,” a spokesperson for the minister said.
But Jean Stuart, President of the Pyrmont Community Group, said the washing out of the Blackwattle and Rozelle bays would pollute the harbour.
“Rozelle Bay is one of the most heavily polluted bays in the whole of the harbour with sediments and heavy metals,” she said.