LETTER: So much more could be done

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

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Newsport reader Helen Walker says Local and State Governments need to focus on enhancing the value of our region. Pictured: Diggers Bridge after Douglas Shire Council's 'Bridge Renewal Program' was undertaken.
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Dear Editor,

So much more could be done to beautify and so enhance the value of our area. Unfortunately, the inertia at state and local government levels means this may never happen.

To pave the way for the new Craiglie Estate along the Captain Cook Highway, the Transport and Main Roads Department has cut down countless trees with the objective of road widening. After some enquiries about whether the trees would be replanted, I was advised that they would not.

It appears the TMR has opted to replace the trees with 10 large and confusing road signs over a 500m stretch of road dictating when a car may or may not overtake. This is part of its 'Targeted Road Safety Program'. As I was driving the speed limit and attempting to decipher the changing messaging every 100m, I would say that I probably drove haphazardly rather than safely.

At the council level, we have the 'Bridges Renewal Program' - a sign has been erected at Diggers Bridge in Mowbray to advise us of this feat. The only problem is the Douglas Shire's idea of beautifying or renewing the bridge has been to erect grey handrails on the previously idyllic bridge. A bridge of historical note and one that was formerly frequented by newlyweds and their photographers.

At opposing ends of the bridge, two giant metal bollards, with red reflecting tape have also been erected and if that wasn't enough to deter vehicles on the bridge, a giant road block sign has been placed at one end. Most of the time the handrails are knocked onto the bridge by floods or vandals. The handrails/tripping hazards are not rectified for months. Apparently, some trees are due to be planted along the concrete paths that have been poured but when that will be completed remains to be seen.

Both the TMR and Douglas Shire Council need to take a leaf from the Sunny Coast council's playbook and its 'Street Tree Master Plan'. Since 2018, the council has planted thousands of trees, encouraging the local community to adopt a street tree that it has planted. The visibility of this four year-long initiative is in the area's growing green canopy and tree corridors.

That council understands that 'biodiversity and healthy functioning ecosystems are fundamental to all life, and provide essential services such as:

cultural heritage
climate change resilience
landscape protection
air quality
waterways health
liveability
productive landscapes
tourism and recreation
healthy communities.'

Surely, it's in everyone's interest to achieve these objectives as they also have significant economic benefits.

Warm regards
Helen Walker, local resident


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