Former councillor Linton Hodsdon has expressed frustration at the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River council committing to a precinct plan for Rotary Park and the Old Settlement as a box-ticking exercise given no immediate funding for the project is confirmed. Councillors last month gave the final tick to the Wooditjup Bilya Precinct Community Plan after more than four years of consultation. A Shire spokesperson previously said the plan would guide renewal of infrastructure, landscaping and environmental works. “This plan also sets out modest upgrades and expansion works that will be undertaken if or when funding becomes available,” they said. However, Mr Hodsdon, a former architect and Shire councillor, had drawn up his own plan for the sites aiming to activate it for the broader community, with his vision including a public amphitheatre and retention of an old house now slated for demolition. Mr Hodsdon said the “lost opportunity” extended to successive councils’ ongoing failure to develop a management plan for the Shire-controlled reserve or include it as a key performance target for chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown. The objective to develop such a plan was first accepted under the reign of ex-CEO Gary Evershed in 2010, but never advanced. Likewise, Mr Hodsdon said the council’s decision last month to endorse the officers’ unfunded plan for the reserve showed a failure of energy. “I have presented evidence of incompetence and negligence to council over the past five years and my disappointment is that councillors do not seem to know how to take action — instead rewarding the administration and thereby ensuring just more of the same,” he said. The Shire was already required to downsize its ambitions for the Wooditjup Bilya Precinct Community Plan when a planned new pedestrian bridge component — seen as a vital connector between the townsite and the other side of the river — came back with an estimated $6 million price tag. Shire sustainable development and infrastructure director Nick Logan said the plan highlighted the need for a safer river crossing as well as connections from the eastern side of Bussell Highway. “Due to the estimated cost for a bespoke pedestrian bridge of around $6 million, with an off-the-shelf option likely around $1.5 million, the intent is to make improvements to the existing pedestrian crossing in the short term,” he said. “An additional bridge structure that would connect into future path connections would most likely be an off-the-shelf option and is subject to future funding availability.” Mr Hodsdon said the plan’s adoption also failed to maximise the return to ratepayers from commercial leases at the site.