16 August, 2012

What's news?

Over the last week or so for one reason or another the Barwon seems to have been in the news.
Recent articles reported first on the opening of the "new" Troop Loop running track at the beginning of July. At about the same time it was announced that the controversial "William Buckley" pedestrian bridge over the river at Barwon Heads had won an award at the Victorian Architecture Awards. A decision which still causes disagreement amongst the local community. And then there was a flurry of media interest in the proposed removal of elm and ash trees along the river at Fyans Park, which continues to the present with an article posted yesterday - 14th August,  2012 - describing the adverse effects of so called "woody weeds" on our river systems. Today the Geelong News featured a letter  titled "River is no place for ash trees" and the Geelong Times carried an article featuring Councillor Strech Kontelj and John Bampfield, a former parks officer involved with planting the trees in the late 1950s. Its headline  "Let the tees grow, says their grower" gives an indication of the article's leaning. Directly beneath it is a letter to the editor pleading the opposite viewpoint.
On 7th August a small article appeared in the Geelong Advertiser with the headline Trail tracks way to cycle safety. The article concerned the "opening" of a new section of track providing an off-road path for pedestrians and cyclists between Barrabool Road and the boat ramp opposite the rowing sheds. Prior to its construction this cyclists and pedestrians shared the roadway with motor vehicles, so it is definitely an improvement.
Partially completed track under the Moorabool St Bridge in April, 2012
I was however, a little surprised that this small section of track required an official "opening", especially considering it had been to all appearances completed and available for public use since some time in early May if my memory serves me correctly. The article also made the interesting claim that this new section of track takes pedestrians and cyclists off "the busy Moorabool Street Bridge". Given that the track and the roadway it removes traffic from run under the bridge in question, I fail to see how this provides an alternative to crossing the bridge itself. In fact, the new track also provides sealed access to the top of the bridge where pedestrians and cyclists can use the perfectly safe, purpose-designed path which was added to the bridge for exactly this purpose in time for the World Cycling Championships back in September 2010.
The finished product, looking upstream under the Moorabool St, James
Harrison and McIntyre Bridges
The next mention of the Barwon in the news was this Monday 13th August, 2012 when the Advertiser declared: Man rescued from Barwon when it appears that a man in his 60s slipped after crossing the weir at Buckley Falls - despite signage indicating that the weir should not be used for crossing the river - whilst attempting to retrieve a remote-controlled boat. The man was carried downstream and become stranded on a rock. All ended well however, with his rescue about two hours later by the SES.

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