There has been a call to name the new Sportsmans Creek Bridge, under construction at Lawrence after missing school teacher Sharon Edwards.
There has been a call to name the new Sportsmans Creek Bridge, under construction at Lawrence after missing school teacher Sharon Edwards. Adam Hourigan

Call to name new bridge after Sharon Edwards

A RESIDENT has asked for the new Sportsmans Creek Bridge to be named after missing Clarence Valley school teacher Sharon Edwards.

A report to the first Clarence Valley Council corporate governance and works committee meeting for 2017 on Tuesday has a request from Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis on behalf of an unnamed Lawrence resident to name the bridge in Mrs Edwards' honour.

The disappearance of the popular school teacher in March 2015 has baffled police, who are investigating her possible murder, for nearly two years.

Mrs Edwards and her estranged husband, John, own a house at Lawrence, not far from the site of the new bridge.

In the report to the committee, Mr Gulaptis advised the Lawrence resident suggested the new Sportsmans Creek Bridge be named The Sharon Edwards Bridge.

"The constituent is suggesting that the bridge still remain Sportsmans Creek but underneath the words The Sharon Edwards Bridge would be added," Mr Gulaptis advised..

The RMS has advised Mr Gulaptis:

"As you can appreciate, naming of infrastructure after private individuals is an issue that generates strong and sometimes conflicting views. Many people feel they have a personal connection, whether it be historical or current, to infrastructure in their region and it's important all views are considered in any naming request.

"To ensure a fair and balanced approach, Roads and Maritime provides geographical or location markers on infrastructure such as bridges. This is to help motorists identify where they are on their journey.

"We also consider requests from local councils to name infrastructure, when the suggested name has been subject to consultation with the wider community and meets relevant Geographical Names Board criteria. These requests generally have strong community support and a demonstrated public benefit. As the new bridge connects a local road network, any consultation process needs to be run by Clarence Valley Council."

The council could either recommend against naming the bridge after Mrs Edwards or undertake community consultation with one suggestion being naming the bridge as The Sharon Edwards Bridge.

It notes the Geographical Names Board guidelines said in a factsheet:

"Names of persons should normally only be given posthumously but the GNB, at its discretion, may approve a feature name which honours a living person. Such a person's contribution to the local community should have been of outstanding benefit to the community."

The council report recommends against the naming of the bridge after Mrs Edwards as her tragic disappearance is still the subject of a police case and does not meet GNB guidelines.