Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

February 26th 2010
A new walking track proposed

Patrick Centurino indicates where the track would go Magnetic Island Ranger in Charge, Mr Patrick Centurino, is keen to hear feedback from the public on a new walking track the Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service is proposing which would enable walkers to travel from Nelly Bay or Arcadia to the Forts carpark without needing to cross the Horseshoe Bay hill road which has been identified as potentially dangerous to pedestrians.

The proposed track would run from the present Nelly to Arcadia track on the Horseshoe Bay side down to connect with the track which follows the old Horseshoe Bay road from Curlew Flat to the Forts walk carpark.




Map of the proposed track
(acknowledging Sunmap for base image)


Because the proposed track is, in part, a response to a risk assessment associated with access points to some of the present tracks, funding will be raised through the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM).

To access the present track from Arcadia to Horseshoe Bay walkers have to risk following the steep section of road with no footpath from Alma Bay which narrows before one crosses to where the walking track (the old Horseshoe hill road) begins. Patrick himself claims he was nearly run over himself whilst inspecting the site recently.

Another section of track - which runs down from the Nelly to Arcadia track to meet Horseshoe Bay hill road about two thirds of the way up from Arcadia - also leaves walkers with nowhere to go but risk following the narrow road. This section is also proposed for closure.

The proposed new track, passes through fairly level terrain until dropping down to meet the Curlew Flat junction with of the old road track. A major feature of the new track will be that it passes through a grove of spectacular grass trees which are found around the hills in that area.

Some years ago a marijuana crop was planted in the area near the proposed track and it is thought to have caused the introduction of a weed, Cobblers Peg (Bidens cynapiifolia) which is now flourishing there.


Cobblers Peg comes in different forms


Weed management in natural bushland is a vitally important factor in decision making such as this and Patrick was keen to explain the success DERM staff have had along, formerly, very weedy sections of fire breaks where native vegetation is now rejuvenating after onging weeding as well as DERM staff and contractors managing machinery for weed spread by washing down and blow drying after use.

“Weeds used to travel from one location to another. Now machines must be washed and blown.” says Patrick.

“We aim to reduce weeds by hand pulling and spraying. The proposed track only has Cobblers Peg but we will be able to weed anything else that infiltrates the site. This should be an easy track to maintain and we are closing a track which is really onerous for maintenance - so that should free things up for maintaining other tracks in better condition.”


(left to right) Patrick Centurino with Charlie McColl, Lorna Hemstead
and Cr Trevor Roberts at Curlew Flat


Magnetic Island Councillor, Trevor Roberts, who inspected the new track area with Patrick Centurino, MICDA President, Lorna Hempstead and resident Charlie McColl, told Magnetic Times, “I think it's a great idea and much more attractive. It takes away two (road) foot crossings we consider dangerous. Once these guys bring the proposals to Council I will start pushing for them.”

Story and photos: George Hirst

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below















A new walking track proposed
 
14 comments
 
Cameron Walker
February 27th 2010
can we fix the track from nelly to arcadia first
 
Jenny Stirling
February 27th 2010
Good article George. It is many years since I last walked these tracks- back in the early 80's and I remember thinking that the fort was like something out of a pirate story- friends laughing together, historical structure and finally stunning views. It would be good to do it agin sometime soon- for the sake of my inner child:)
 
Yvonne Dalliston
February 27th 2010
Although it's been many years since i walked that track,it's good to see that there is finally something being done about the dangerous sections,next time I'm home i hope to be able to accrss the new track.
 
chalkie
February 27th 2010
If environmentally sound - a good idea. I know this is an old chestnut but I have to agree with Cameron Walker, one of the most dangerous 'walks' on the island is the road from Nelly Bay over the hill to Arcadia - you have two choices: (1) the 'slip, slide and fall' way or (2) the 'hit by a bus or motor vehicle way' - I know there is a so-called walking path up through the opposite side but it is not really an 'everybody friendly' way. I am sure the walk from Nelly Bay to Picnic Bay was a 'safer' way but Council chose to construct that walkway. So if Council is concerned about people crossing the Horseshoe Bay Road I do not know why their thoughts and minds have not turned to the Nelly Bay / Arcadia walk - a lot of people use this and it is a wonderful walk with a lovely view for visitors - so a timber boardwalk should be constructed.
 
Joan Hegedus
February 27th 2010
If a similar risk assessment was carried out on the current condition of the Nelly Bay to Arcadia "walkway" there is no doubt that the findings would indicate how this track is so much more dangerous for walkers. Must we wait for a major accident to occur before we see any action. The hill track is not a reasonable alternative.
 
chasmac
February 27th 2010
This story is about a National Parks walking track not a Townsville City Council footpath or walkway. Councillor Roberts was present because, amongst other reasons, there are Council issues (car parking etc.) on Council land at one or other end of the proposed track extension.
I don't think the Nelly - Arcadia track (or lack of) is an "old chestnut" at all but it is one which is not going to be dealt with by DERM because it is not in their patch. National Parks tracks are managed separately from Council paths and any cooperation between managers should be encouraged and supported.
 
Lea M. Scherl
February 28th 2010
I am a frequent user of the track under discussion here and believe that this could be a good idea. Moreover, it seems like it will make it easier for tourists to find their way than the current option. I many times had to explain the "getting back into the road, down the road, cross the road to then go uphill again" situation we now have. Moreover, I fully appreciate the comment that this path is managed separately from council paths. However,the very fact that the Nelly-Arcadia track becomes a focus of attention in this discussion only points to the FRUSTRATION of so many of us over the years. The inability of Council to deal with a serious issue related to the Nelly-Arcadia walkway is astonishing. I totally support what other readers comment on those lines so far. I will also add that many of us don't walk or cycle to the ferry because of that hill, making roads and carparks more congested. Let Council realize we are extremely unhappy about this at any opportunity that presents itself!
 
sarah Lythgoe
March 1st 2010
I think it is a great idea I frequently pass tourists who are walking up the hill obviously ignorant that there is a path at all. For those of us who walk over the island regularly it will make it safer. The existing paths need to be sign posted better for tourists.
 
Mal Hamilton
March 1st 2010
First of all, commendations to Patrick Centurino and the park rangers for the excellent work they do here with a small crew and little funding. Any plan which enhances the experience of Magnetic Island and takes pedestrians off our roads is a good one.
Secondly, the walking track from Nelly Bay to Arcadia has long been a very serious issue which needs urgent attention. It's a wonder there have been no fatalities when you consider the number of near misses which occur every day.
However, a cantilevered boardwalk beside the road would be difficult and very expensive to construct. This at a time in which TCC is considering heavy cutbacks in public infrastructure because of debt. Residents and visitors are truly between a rock and a hard place, no pun intended.
This is a deadly "black spot" just waiting to happen.
Looking purely at the TCC bottom line, with a population of only 2700(approximately) the rate base doesn't justify the cost.
Obviously this island, being a world famous tourist attraction and the "jewel in Townsville's crown" is a case worthy of special consideration.
The question is this. What is TCC going to do about the problem and how long will we have to wait for it to happen?
Cr David Crisafulli made all the right noises about this issue when he walked the "track" just after he was elected. So far that is all we've had- appropriate noises followed by a deathly silence.
Must we wait for death or serious injury to occur before it is made safe for the public to walk or cycle between Arcadia and Nelly Bay?
 
audrey
March 1st 2010
Brilliant plan. It will make it so much more use-able. It's such a lovely walk from Arcadia to Nelly Bay following the ridge surrounding Horseshoe Bay and it's so under-used I find that the only footprints on the path have not made by people. Once I surprised a koala walking it.
 
chalkie
March 3rd 2010
Mal, I agree 100% with your sentiments but as regards to the "TCC bottom line" - how much is even one life worth to TCC? Not sure too, how much a civil suit would cost if someone ended up in a wheelchair - or would that not be a TCC issue? No matter, the simple fact of the matter is I wonder what would happen if one life was lost? I somehow think a boardwalk would be constructed quick smart.
 
Ron Brennan
March 3rd 2010
When in residence on the Island I am a daily user of the Arcadia to Nelly Bay walking track and have been running/walking same since it was first built.
If funds are available I believe they would be better spent in providing more personnel to better maintain the track we have rather than this proposal.
In speaking to backpackers one encounters in the hills, the majority "do' the Nelly Bay/ Arcadia walk seperately to the Forts.
Even if this new track is built, I would anticipate that most visitors will still take the road as a preferred access to the Forts.
Our walking tracks on the Island are under-promoted and could be developed into a major attraction providing they are properly maintained.
 
Bruce J Dargie
March 6th 2010
Congratulations on the anticipated 'walking track' activity. I worked in Townsville some 43 years ago. I now live in Perth. Recently, after all those years, returned to once again experience 'Maggie' life, and I must say what an absolute delight it was after more than four decades. I used many of the tracks over a six-day period. Many were more than a challenge, but this added to the adventure. Now in my late sixties, I can't wait for a return to one of my favourite, seemingly unspoilt, charming and rustic islands. As I wrote, congratulations to all those concerned!
 
Barb Gibbs
April 28th 2011
I fully agree the Nelly Arcadia track should be given priority...shame they are separate departments.
The point made about persons using cars in lieu of cycling or walking to ferry should be pushed as a matter for reducing CO2 emissions, waste of resources, less vehicular traffic to create constant potholes, congestion of parking and so on it goes! But then, TCC would think that idiotic as they prefer to put money into V8 racing which uses loads of resources and pumps loads of CO2 into the atmosphere. The per capita importance should be revised...we are the reason tourists come to Townsville aside V8's...not just for the Strand! the island is the constant magnet to the area.
Making existing tracks more visible and maybe putting steps in would be a great idea and offers more views of the ocean which is what a lot of people prefer.
Mind you, for those who just like to bushwalk, it is a good option to the existing Nelly/Arcadia cross-country version which had some dangerous slips and played havoc on the ticker(;
It is a start to the resolution, but the TCC really need to stop looking at the island as just a lump of rock across the water. If they had roads like ours there would be hell to play, and we are ACTUALLY a suburb of Townsville...should be given same consideration as ANY OTHER SUBURB!!


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