Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Bridge a Bigger Issue

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Bridge a Bigger Issue

Article excerpt

REGARDING comments from Mackay Sunfish president Lance Murray (DM 02/06/09).

He indicated that during the week there were about five people on the old Hospital Bridge and that it was not being used enough to have it saved from demolition.

'You don't need a whole bridge for five people'.

This statement completely misses the point of this issue on two fronts.

Firstly, it's like saying: There are only a few cars on that road in the middle of the day, so let's only build one lane.

This thinking does not take into account that between 7am and 9am in the morning and 4pm and 6pm in the evening it's bumper to bumper with people.

Of course there will be fewer people in the middle of the week.

Does that mean that other facilities not used much in the middle of the week - like the lagoon - also should not be kept?

But what about the recreational peak hours?

For example, weekends, school holidays and our winter, which brings increased tourists - mainly southerners escaping the depth of their winter and people exploring the north during the dry season.

Secondly, it's not just about the fishing. The old bridge can provide an excellent and traffic-free thoroughfare for cyclists and pedestrians.

It is a vital strategic link in connecting the Blue River Trail with the north side and, potentially, Janes Creek and the Gooseponds.

The heritage value of the bridge must also not be discounted.

Mr Murray says that if the State would pay to maintain the bridge he would support it but he 'can't as a ratepayer'.

Well if that's his logic then he shouldn't support it either way because the State gets its funds from the taxpayer, which I assume he is.

This is precisely the point.

Tax and rate dollars should be spent on community infrastructure that is needed and supported by the community.

The argument that there just simply aren't enough State Government funds does not hold a single drop of water when you take into account the hundreds of millions - billions if you combine State and Federal - of dollars that profitable coal companies receive in subsidises each year from the government.

In Queensland it's around $500 million a year for diesel.

Perhaps some people don't fish or ride bikes but on the other hand some people don't go to our art galleries or convention centres either.

It's government's role to spend our money on something for everyone.

Tax and ratepayers should support worthwhile projects, which the old Hospital Bridge is, even if it's not your cup of tea.

It's time for Main Roads to stop trying to make Mackay Regional Council out to be the bad guy and come to the party.

Maybe Tim Mulherin and Jan Jarratt can write the invitations and blow up the balloons.

JONATHON DYKYJ, Mackay

Roll out pork barrel

IN response to Graham Drury's letter (DM 25/05/09) regarding handouts to the NP voter base. …

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