July 23rd 2010
Will we get the walkway this time?
Jill Edwards-Davis from Nelly Bay has five stress fractures in her back and, as a disabled person, wants to get out of Nelly Bay but, even with her very capable powered wheel chair, there is only so far she can go when headed for Arcadia.
Jill, 66, has been in the chair for about a year and is keen to put the case for wheelchair access out of Nelly Bay.
"Basically the disabled are trapped in their bays. There's no suitable sidewalks and they cannot set off out of the way of the traffic. It's the same for mum's with prams," said Jill.
Jill met Magnetic Times at Greystone Corner where the track beside the road, which starts out at Nelly Bay as a well built walkway, finishes and becomes a narrow cliff top hike. Completion of the track has been promised by politicians for many years without success.
"It's been promised since we've been here," says Jill who has lived on the Island for ten years.
According to Magnetic Island Councillor Trevor Roberts, the completion of the Nelly to Arcadia walkway is one of five projects Townsville City Council have put to the aspiring federal candidates for the forthcoming election as worthy of support but Councillor Roberts added that they had received no response so far. "We are expecting some promises to be rolled out during the campaign and we are hoping this will be amongst them."
The issue is one which has united Magnetic Islanders over the years and has been the subject of a petition by the RSL and ongoing lobbying from Magnetic Island Community Development Association.
Apart from the safety issue and enhancement to the Island's tourist attractions, others see the benefit of a reduced use of the busy narrow road occurring with more Islanders being prepared to ride bicycles and walk between the very popular bays.
"Magnetic Island is a good place because there's still a community and people are helpful but you want to be able to do something for yourself," says Jill.
Fortunately for Jill, she inherited some money to have her and husband Peter's van modified for a wheelchair. "But not many people can afford that" said Jill
Magnetic Times has been asking prospective state and federal candidates about the walkway over several elections and will again be placing the question in our "Questions to the candidates" article closer to polling day.
Story and photo: George Hirst
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