Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

July 1st 2008
Letter: Reflecting on roadkill

Another roadside victim on Gifford Street Dear Editor Some years ago (Island wildlife carer) Jenny Mulcahy sought and achieved a grant, together with the Townsville City Council, to put roadside posts with special reflectors to deter wildlife from crossing at night when a vehicle was coming. A key spot to receive these was Gifford Street in Horseshoe Bay.

Rock Wallabies, and now other macropods, come down to the lowlands to find food and water, especially during the dry (season) and especially at night. In Horseshoe Bay this means that a lot of them cross Gifford Street and Swensen Street. The reflectors, referred to above, were installed and remained for a few years, showing a noticeable difference in the road kill for passing vehicles.

Then in 2006, large sections of the land were subdivided and storm water drains and sewerage pipes were laid beside the road way in Gifford Street. The reflectors were removed by the developer/ contractor, never to be replaced. The Townsville City Council said it was the developer's responsibility to replace them, but, apparently, took no action to ensure that this was done. Local residents are horrified by the number of road kill each day/week in Gifford Street.

Horseshoe Bay needs the reflectors to be replaced immediately and to be installed in other hot spots. We also need some local residents and taxis to stop treating Gifford Street like a speedway.

We need the speed limit to be reduced to the recommended 50 kph for suburban areas. Swensen Street is really only a track with bitumen. Why is it now graded as 60 kph? Why is Gifford Street 60 kph? There is no good reason.

On the rare occasions that buses come down Gifford Street, they lumber along. It's only the taxis and some residents who drive even at 50 kph.

We need signs all over the island, which say "Slow Down and Save our Wildlife".

In Gifford Street we need the speed track nature of the long stretch to be reduced - speed bumps, police patrols.

Speed kills!

Linda Wooten
Horseshoe Bay

(New Townsville City Councillor, Vern Veitch, has recently provided Magnetic Times with roadkill information as supplied by NTCC's Waste Services. The figures show that from July 07 to April 08, 253 small and medium sized animals were copllected from the Island's roads. The figures did not however appear to include birds such as curlews. Ed)

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Letter: Reflecting on roadkill
 
10 comments
 
Pat Trewin
July 1st 2008
I've been here only three months and have already buried two wallabies killed on Horseshoe Bay Road as it flattens out at the bottom of the hill. At this rate, I'll build up quite a big cemetery each year! Some people are just not aware - I braked for a roo last month and almost had an idiot run up my tail - fortunately he swerved and missed both me and the roo. I'm in favour of anything that alerts people to slow down to protect the wildlife.
 
Chris C
July 2nd 2008
I ain't no expert but my observation is that the reflectors in Nelly have had a real effect (except after Full Moon parties when they are invariably mowed down/pushed over) - I see no reason why they shouldn't be on all of the island's roads.

I also support a blanked 50km speed limit - why anyone on an island with a few kms of road would need to go faster is beyone me

As for some of our cab drivers ..........
 
Bruce Williams
July 2nd 2008
With observations of many slain curlews, wallabies, possums and one echnidna, in my brief career (so far) as a taxi driver, I can concur with the above sentiments and data. What's to be done?
 
Tony Gordon
July 3rd 2008
I drive from Picnic Bay to Horseshoe Bay every day and I am appaled at the road toll of native animals I see each morning and yes I understand that a wallaby may shoot out in front of one's car and sometimes can't be helped But to run over an echidna is pure ignorance as these animals are slow moving and easy to see. I have found 6 dead ones in the last three weeks. one was run over in front of Foodworks in Nelly Bay there wasnt any hills bushes and anything just the open road, so it wasnt hard to see this amazing animal. I have even watched people deliberately run over snakes at night. Why can't people just wait and watch rather than most being in a hurry to pay attention.
 
Val Brice
July 4th 2008
If Ms Wooten is referring to the development opposite the former MI Nurseries (completed in May, 2005), guide posts were replaced after services had been installed. Over the three years since then, many have been damaged and vandalised. I am as appalled as others at the roadkill on Gifford Street. We travel 40kph on that road after dusk, and remain alert for wildlife. Only a week ago a car (I think a white sedan) overtook me heading west. He/she must have been doing at least 80 kph and continued this speed until out of sight. I commented 3 years ago that the community newspapers should report the weekly numbers of wildlife killed on the Island. It may help to make people aware of the numbers being killed, and consequently encourage them to drive with care. I heard recently that dead wallabies have been found with rope around their necks in Arcadia. If this is true, I hope the sadist is found and harshly punished.
 
Linda
July 8th 2008
Val, There used to be posts with reflectors every 4 or 5 metres Now it is completely clear for half of it's length the western half, where the pipes went. If any were replaced after the development, i didn't see them, and I travel down there nearly every day. There was a large pile lying in the paddock, afterwards, but after a while they disappeared.
 
Peter Francis Hughes
July 8th 2008
This idea of 'development at any cost' does have a cost, and in this case it is the wildlife. The opportunity cost developers fail to address is indeed the economics of the environment.
Developers seldom address this issue with the importance it deserves, as in this case, where the refelective markers were never maintained and monitored after the subdivision was completed.
I could argue that perhaps Council intended to enforce the maintenance of these markers by the developer for some reasonable period, say 5 years. I might also argue that a developer sensitive to environmental issues would have hired an environmental scientist to ensure these matters of the environment were addressed.
Sadly, my case may be ill-founded, as I recall a time when wildlife were safe to cross this road after dark.
Peter F. Hughes
Great Ocean Road,
Victoria
 
chasmac
July 9th 2008
Are speed cameras only for revenue raising? The City Council and/or Queensland Transport should respond to resident's repeatedly reiterated concerns, lower the speed limit on Gifford Street to 50 kms/hr (where it belongs) and install a prominent speed camera warning sign to replace the useless wildlife notices.
 
melitta
July 10th 2008
Everyone breaks the rules, its human nature, weather it be going that few extra K's over the limit, or smoking that illegal stuff sometimes just for fun, its a fact of life and its what we humans do.

Reducing the speed limit may save some wild life, it may not, the debate goes on. What we do know for sure though is that the speed limit, if reduced, will sometimes be exceeded.

How about a sonic whistle, my sista sent me a pack of two which were less than $10 to purchase, they go on either side of your car (great for Gifford St) and the wild life hear it and head off the road as you cruise along, saving themselves from the statistics we call road kill. The only catch with my version is that you need to be doing 50k's or more for it to work... (not good for the back end of Apjohn Street or West Point Road). I would imagine there would be other sonic whistles on the market that would work at lower speeds. If obtainable they could sell them locally and on the barge, any profit made could go to the wild life carers group... just a thought...
 
liz
September 11th 2008
People should just drive more carefully.

In fact, the amount of reckless driving (usually males aged 18-35) I witnessed in my time living on the Island, I am astounded there have not been more human fatalities. I feel so passionately about safe driving and I don't understand the mentality of reckless drivers. A member of my family was hit and killed by a speeding car (not on the Island) and the driver didn't even stop. What is wrong with people? Why do they have to drive so fast? How can they have so little awareness of the danger their actions pose? It makes me so angry to see this sort of irresponsible and downright selfish attitude to driving. I've been in cars with people on the Island who have driven like idiots just because they seem to think it's cool (or something) I've literally shouted at them to slow down and they look at me like I'm a weirdo. When are these idiots going to realise that driving too fast is NOT A GAME, it KILLS. I was so sad to see so many beautiful creatures killed by idiots on the road. Alot of these idiots seem to take both animal life and human life for granted. They don't realise that most of the wildlife on or around the island is either endangered and/or threatened species. There should be a massive crackdown and I'm not talking about one policeman standing along the road with a speedgun. There needs to be a massive awareness campaign on the issue, get the community fully involved, get speed limits put into place, get more police to crack down and impose massive fines for speeding, educate people on the preciousness of their eco-system. Magnetic Island is one of the last paradises left in this world with some of the most beautiful wildlife. Don't let the speed-happy thugs destroy it forever.


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