Paid Windsor bridge comments questioned

THE Community Action for Windsor Bridge Group (CAWB) is angered by news that Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) engaged a market research company to organise a community forum to discuss Windsor Bridge options in which participants were paid for their opinions.

According to CAWB, last Wednesday night (June 13) the RMS shut down the community forum on Windsor Bridge after tensions boiled over amongst residents in attendance.

Members of CAWB questioned RMS officers present over what they considered to be “secret consultations” where selected participants were paid $200 to take part in last Wednesday’s forum at Windsor Function Centre.

An RMS spokesperson told the Gazette on Monday that the forum took place, but the RMS did not take part in the selection process.

“As an extension to the consultation already carried out by it, market research company KGA Research was engaged to obtain feedback and opinions from a randomly selected group representing a wide cross-section of the community,” the spokesperson said.

“RMS was not involved in the selection of the community members for the research. It is normal practice for market research participants to be paid for their contribution and attendance.”

CAWB group chairman Dail Miller said community members who had given their own time to help the RMS try and deliver a “better project” for Windsor, were “furious”.

“This is terribly disappointing,” Mr Miller said. “We have worked endlessly on behalf of the people of the Hawkesbury to try and turn this terrible project around and deliver a proper solution. They have not listened to us and now they are ringing people and offering to pay them to talk about the project ... what is going on?”

Local businesswoman, Megan Wood said “we feel really used”. “We give up hours and hours of our time because we want something better for our community. This group, after a single session get an envelope of cash and we get summarily dismissed because we’re not giving the RMS the feedback they require to push their agenda.”

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