New bridge upstream answer to Gympie's ad-hoc planning
Letter to the Editor by Dave Freeman
ALBEIT that it should've been done years ago, during the mining boom and probably instead of the four lanes through Gympie that old locals demanded because "Gympie will never be bypassed”, it's good to read Federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister Chester say Section D is the "top priority” for funding.
However, like many things government, the unintended consequences of ad-hoc planning will see other things cause delays and chaos if not addressed before they become too obvious to ignore.
One of those consequences is being played out now with delays on Channon St expected as a pedestrian refuge is created between medical facilities on either side of that road.
The new highway will doubtless be welcomed with little thought on if it's the best that could be achieved but if done as currently planned, the main Gympie highway junction will feed traffic down Horsehoe Bend and Channon St to a new Kidd Bridge, joining congestion to congestion, and Gympie folk will face years of delays trying to fix a basically feeble concept.
Imagine if you will, as I tend to, 20 years forward, the usual lead time for major infrastructure. Imagine traversing the above route with the population growth we're expecting, and an ageing population driving increasingly badly at that?
Half smart money is creating a lack of parking and poor access that already requires a pedestrian refuge along the route we're seemingly rusted on to.
With major residential expansion planned across the river it's impossible to see efficient traffic flow where very limited options for road widening are available.
Add the majority of planned future industrial development being proposed around Monkland, Glanmire and East Deep Creek and this entire (lack of) plan looks very lazy before work even starts.
That's without considering delays and lost productive hours during building a new Kidd Bridge, or that the new southern entrance to town will outgrow itself quickly, requiring double lanes which should've been done the first time around.
To me, one with no vested interests apart from minimising chaos, the obvious answer is a completely new bridge upstream of Gympie.
I propose Hall Road, across to Waterworks Road, much closer to both the proposed residential and industrial expansions.
A well managed low level weir there could help protect new council river bank infrastructure from minor river rises and provide more recreational opportunities too.
But, this being Gympie, land of little vision and all roads leading to Mary St, I'm sure we'll get stuck with the current proposal and once again we'll be expected to clap like trained seals as our overall best interests are foregone to suit a precious few.
Why we volunteer
WHY would anyone volunteer two hours on one day a week to spend time with a bunch of teenage girls?
Some have health issues, some have emotional issues, some have trouble at school, and some have trouble at home. There are also some who don't have any issues in their lives. Occasionally there's tears, anger, anxiety, stress, disappointment or fear.
We listen to them, comfort them, laugh with them, teach them, get to know them, advise them, and have fun with them.
We are proud of every one of them and their achievements no matter how big or small they may seem.
Some of the things this year that have been reminders of why it is so fantastic to volunteer to work a group of teenage girls are:
having them attend all Anzac Day services and assist wherever needed;
watching a girl get in a kayak for the first time ever;
seeing the smile when a girl is complimented by her peers;
hearing from a number of girls that Girl Guides is one the best things in their lives;
learning that a girl has been selected for a very important role in the Commonwealth Games;
having the privilege of awarding badges for a wide range of personal achievements.
This is a small selection from an extensive list. This is why we volunteer for a couple of hours each week.
Don't engage cruise control in the wet
YOUR story about three recent crashes on the local Bruce Highway in our current wet driving conditions raises some questions for me.
We are constantly reminded to drive to the conditions. Sometimes there are other factors which can contribute to an accident. It is not that as drivers we are ignorant, less careful, rather there are some lessons untaught.
Were the vehicles automatic? Were the drivers being cautious and engaging cruise control, particularly young drivers or long distance travellers?
In wet or rainy conditions when in cruise control the car can begin to hydroplane as the tyres lose even traction with the road. It will then accelerate at a higher rate and the car takes control until an impact stops it. This can also occur in automatic vehicles. This lesson was passed on to me by a NSW police officer and I did not know.
I have only heard of one manufacturer who is obviously aware of this possibility, the Toyota Sienna XLE, with inbuilt disconnection of cruise control when the windscreen wipers are activated.
Perhaps this is "drive to the conditions”, engage gears as it seems the current weather pattern may continue for a little longer.