Bridge petition passes 900 mark.
The petition asking both Sunshine Coast and Gympie Regional Councils to retain the old timber Pickering Bridge has swept past the 900-signature mark.
A Keep the Bridge Information stall at the Mary River Festival in Kandanga this Saturday will offer a last chance to sign the petition.
The single-lane timber bridge across the Mary River at Moy Pocket near Kenilworth
will become redundant once the new high-level concrete one comes into operation but there’s been a strong call for it to be retained for safe river access.
The spot is a popular place to access the Mary River and increasingly popular as a start or end point for kayakers. Initially we’d asked the Sunshine Coast council to include a pedestrian walkway on the new bridge to make it a lot safer given the number of large vehicles using the road.
We’ve been really heartened by the strong response the petition has received. So many people we talk to have been to the spot to swim or to picnic and see that keeping the old bridge exclusively for pedestrians is much safer and is an all-round better idea than pulling it down.
There are two snags as the councils see it, though. They worry that the old bridge, being upstream of the new one, may work loose in a flood and do damage, and they worry about having to do extra maintenance.
The low level of the bridge and the fact it has been upgraded a couple of times over the past twenty-five years to deal with its heavy truck burden, as well as small additional work, all act to make it a good prospect as a flood survivor. After all, it has emerged intact after flooding that has claimed many local bridges over the past thirty or so years.
And because of its being located on the boundary of the two council regions, it presents a unique opportunity to share maintenance costs and these could be reduced even further as nearby quarry owner BORAL has undertaken “to help reach a good outcome for river users”.
One thing that has kept coming up, in the Mary River Renewal Plan and elsewhere, is the need for better access to the river. Retained bridges at Yandina, Weyba, Calliope and elsewhere have proved to be popular spots for river recreation as well as being a link to our heritage of old timber bridges.
What we have here is a one-off opportunity, and we sincerely hope that both Councils listen to the voice of the people and retain the old bridge.