April 11th 2007
Ribbon cutting at rock jutting
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