Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

April 11th 2007
Ribbon cutting at rock jutting

Peter Lindsay and Tony Mooney cut the ribbon Townsville Mayor, Tony Mooney and the Federal Member for Herbert Peter Lindsay cut a ribbon to open a step in the $1.4M Nelly Picnic walking track's progress up the hill. But the event was overshadowed by the huge adjacent stone, known as the Sentinel, which had been defaced by an overnight graffiti raid.

The Sentinel (Click here) has been the site of five months of slow and halted work to remove its face closest to the road. The graffiti was painted across the section to be removed.

The Sentinel before the opening with
graffiti reading, "Please leave me".

The opening, officiated by Cr Jenny Hill occurred at the scenic lookout where about 50 metres of cantilevered boardwalk to the popular lookout was added to sections of the steep hill walkway completed from previous years.

Tony Mooney opened the section as, "Stage 1" of a project which now makes the lookout safely accessible to walkers and bicyclists.

'The costs are so far out of the price range for Council,' said the Mayor, comparing Townsville's usual footpath prices of $100 per metre with the $700,000 scenic hill walkway.

He thanked all associated and commended the Island community for, 'your patience, perseverance and cajoling Council with your perceptions of priorities'.

Mr Lindsay said Australian Government Regional Partnerships programme funding of more than $387,000 assisted the Townsville City Council to develop formal walking paths and a 100 metre boardwalk on Nelly Bay Road on Magnetic Island.

Peter Lindsay seemed eager to assist Council with further projects from the program to help on further paths. "There is more to do and I look forward to another partnership on Magnetic Island."

Both politicians were in agreement that the completion of the Nelly to Arcadia walkway, a more expensive option, was very important. This walkway, which is much closer to the harbour, has for years been seen in the community as having a much bigger safety priority. (click here)

"Stage two of this (Nelly-Picnic hill) project will be completed by the end of this year," said Peter Lindsay.

As for the Sentinel's offending face Peter Lindsay commented that, 'Magnetic Island is an emotional community.' but that, 'People have got to be able to move safely across the Island' and, when asked whether he would support the rock face's retention, if it didn't contravene disability access, said, 'I don't think there is enough space with the barriers.'

The timing of the graffito's appearance, which defaces what it seeks to protect, had some wondering if the person responsible was linked to somebody who knew the opening was to occur.

Story and photo: George Hirst

To make a comment see below

Ribbon cutting at rock jutting
Keith Owens
April 11th 2007
Too bad for the Polly whoever he is why should the Rock cause any trouble because I walked acropss from Picnic Bay to Nellie bay in 1948 & did not need for any of the Rocks to be blasted out of the way so why start now Thank God I saw it as it was, A rugged Beautiful place Just stop trying to Win votes Pollys whoever you are & leave the Island as Nature intended it to be instead of blowing bits off to suit those who just are Hell bent on destroying what it is a Beautiful Island! Keith Owens.
April 24th 2007
Whilst "both politicians" were in agreement that the completion of the vastly more urgent and expensive Nelly Bay to Arcadia boardwalk was "very important", it is clear that neither of them is ready to do anything about it. Maybe the Picnic Bay boardwalk has been under construction for so long (at least 5 years) the politicians have forgotten why Magnetic Island needed these things in the first place.
The Arcadia boardwalk needs to get to the design stage before it can go anywhere. Will Council take it there? No, apparently. Council is still sitting on $30,000 (half of it privately donated) for the rejuvenation of another walkway over the same hill - the hundred year old original walking track (not suitable for bikes, prams etc) which runs above the road. It must be three years since they corralled the money and turned down offers for volunteers to do the restoration job saying "leave it to us". They've done absolutely nothing.
Unless someone volunteers to be run over by a vehicle and killed on that now-resurfaced hill road, nothing will happen about a boardwalk unless the Magnetic Island community organises it. We will have to organise the funding and the works program because none of our governments, at any level, is willing to do the job.
But first we need a design. It needs to take account of the landscape values, the various land titles, the standards for multiple use (pedestrian, bicycle, groups, lighting, incline etc.), the existing vegetation and other natural assets and so much more. Otherwise we'll end up in a bunfight over the need to blast away rock, cut down hoop pines or otherwise deface the spectacular landscape aesthetics of that Geoffrey Bay hill slope. The design project might well be the hardest part to finish.
With elections at the federal and local government level coming up in the next 12 months maybe it's time now to start asking questions.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

Readers comments
Syl Hayes In reply to Fair raises $15,000 for school
What a wonderful outcome for the school! I had a great time face-painting with Luke and Sasha, met lots of kids and parents,scored some great books at the Trash n Treasure stall, and even remembered to vote. Everywhere you looked people were enjoying themselves...such a tribute to the organisers. Well done!
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Should Magnetic Island commission a sculpture to celebrate the achievements of Julian Assange?
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