January 12th 2013
Gabul Way: pros, cons and ribbon cutting
It will definitely be a moment of Magnetic history when, finally, the much-needed and very long-time-called-for walkway between Nelly Bay and Arcadia - to be named in honour of the Wulgurukaba dreaming, carpet python, Gabul - is finally, formally opened on Sunday March 3. But as the walkway is, minus the viewing platforms, effectively complete and open for feet and pushie tyres right now, Magnetic Times decided to walk the walkway and document the experience for our many non-magnetic readers.
The big day when Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill cuts the ribbon will no doubt be quite an occasion and businesses are invited to contact Townsville City Council to add promo material for 300 reusable shoulder bags containing Magnetic information which will be given away to event attendees. Not unexpectedly there will be a free sausage sizzle, market stalls, entertainment and even some prizes to be won on the day.
As for the walkway itself it is clearly hugely beneficial for pedestrian and cyclist’s safety. It will surely encourage many more walkers (instead of drivers) between Nelly and Arcadia and will quickly become an easy must-do on Magnetic attraction. But for any motorist especially, the walkway is a view blocker and for an tourist island this is no small matter.
An Island visitor and Magnetic Times letter writer Andrew Robson put it recently, “...the Picnic Bay walkway uses timber which is more in keeping with the natural surrounds. The Nelly Bay walkway is all metal and concrete and gives the impression of walkway in a bird cage.” and called for the removal “of the vertical metal bars to free up the view”
One certainly might wonder at the level of engineering over aesthetics with the finished structure and we would be keen to hear from the designers as to why, for instance, the walkway had to be so high? In parts the walking level is about 1 metre above the road and why the metal “bird cage”?
While so many of us will be grateful indeed for the walkway’s great utility, in a time when perception is everything and in a World Heritage location where everything is on show, it’s hard to believe that a piece of public infrastructure so desperately needed for so long could not be designed in a way that would less heavily impede one of the loveliest and most iconic views Magnetic Island has to show the world: that seen when we approach Geoffrey Bay from the top of the pass.
Of course, the flip side to this criticism is: if you want the best experience from this little journey then walk, cycle or ride in a higher vehicle like the bus!
Magnetic Times has put together a photo essay of the walkway from one end to the other and back. But for easier viewing we have posted them to our facebook page (Click here). We’ve also included a number of views approximate to those car drivers will experience.
Of course, with such a major project, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
For any business people interested in being part of the TCC promotion mentioned above, TCC’s Sally Burke, Marketing Communications Officer can be contacted on 07 4727 9572
or mobile: 0448 448 923 or email: Sally.Burke@townsville.qld.gov.au