The fight to save Tabulam continues as Page MP Kevin Hogan outlines a vague plan.
The fight to save Tabulam continues as Page MP Kevin Hogan outlines a vague plan. Susanna Freymark

First steps taken to save town's historic bridge

THE fight to save the historic Tabulam Bridge continues as Page MP Kevin Hogan outlines the first step to try to save it from demolition.

Ahead of last Saturday's federal election, Mr Hogan pledged to work with his state colleagues if he was re-elected to "try and save this bridge".

Post election, Mr Hogan said the first step to saving the 1903 truss bridge was ensuring it is re-listed for its heritage value by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. 

"That request is currently before the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage," Mr Hogan said.

After being taken off the heritage list in 2016, the longest single-span timber bridge in the southern hemisphere is expected to come down in mid 2020, despite objections from the local indigenous, non-indigenous communities and local politicians. 

Mr Hogan said: "The Tabulam Bridge is under the jurisdiction of the NSW Roads and Maritime Services".

He said while both departments are part of the NSW Government and therefore not federal he was still committed to protecting an integral part of the heritage of Tabulam. 

"That said, I will work with my state colleagues to try and make this happen," he said.

"The heritage value of this is important."

Mr Hogan declined to explain how he intended to help to save the bridge.

Many members of the Tablulam community want the original bridge to stay and be used as a walking bridge, but once the new $48 million Tabulam bridge is complete, the 120-year-old bridge will be removed by the NSW Government because it would cost too much to maintain.

Roads and Maritime Services had stated they would continue to "look at ways to remember the existing bridge and maintain the link between the bridge and the heritage values of Tabulam".

When the RMS was asked what would become of its structure upon removal, a spokeswoman said that due to contamination they would "potentially" try to reuse some of its timbers. 

"Unfortunately, due to the age of the structure and some historic use of potentially harmful chemicals, such as arsenic and other materials used in maintenance, some contamination of bridge timbers has occurred," the spokeswoman said. 

Over the coming months, Lismore MP Janelle Saffin said she would go to the top to try and save the historic Tabulam bridge by taking the issue to parliament.

Kyogle Mayor Danielle Mulholland said if the old Tabulam Bridge did come down, the council would happily re-use some of its salvageable timbers.