Lack of signage a real danger at Woobadda
AFTER a short, but brilliant holiday in New Zealand, I had several trips along the Track last weekend with clients fascinated by the rainforest, waterfalls and creek crossings.
The Wujal Wujal Falls are really creating a great spectacle with the recent good rains.
Snakes, frogs, insects, flowers, fruits and beans are everywhere, provided you have a good look around - and up.
Water levels have been generally ok.
However, I note that one unfortunate motorist had risked the Woobadda Creek when the levels were well up and running powerfully a few days earlier.
He tipped his 4WD, lost his load and car but not, luckily, his life.
Whether or not it contributed to his accident I don’t know, but someone (some fool?) has painted a dangerously misleading yellow water level mark on the big marker rock downstream on the southern side of the Creek. I ignore the “sign” totally. I strongly advise others to do the same.
A more-realistic safe level is about 400mm lower. I have alerted the Council to the problem, and it should be fixed by time of publication.
I don’t know the exact figures, but Woobadda is too dangerous to cross for perhaps 20-30 days during the year, mainly during the monsoon season. Yet, it is an important road for many people.
This begs two questions - firstly, why aren’t there any formal warning markers?
No doubt Cairns Regional Council is reluctant to provide any water level advice for fear of litigation, especially as the creek base is unstable and uneven.
“Better no sign than one that leaves a chance of litigation” runs the sort of argument.
Yet the lack of signage, or in this case, dangerously misleading unoffi cial signage, is clearly dangerous to life. Are not lives more important than potential litigation?
The bigger question has been raised also by local Degarra resident Margaret Upite: “Why isn’t a permanent Woobadda Creek crossing fix happening?”
The Wet Tropics Management Authority and respective councils have for some time been preparing a strategy to examine and test ideas which will impact on the total Bloomfield Track.
The very difficult balancing act involves juggling lives on the one hand and loss of heritage values on the other. The issues need proper examination, informed ideas and testing in the community.
So, please contribute to ensure that an effective and good compromise solution will be found.
In the meantime, the Track has been accessible almost every day in the last few weeks.
Trees keep falling with wind and rain and create an adventurous drive. Water levels can and will rise suddenly.
So, be careful, but don’t let it stop you enjoying the experiences of the area.
Tides will be building up to kingtide levels in the middle of next week, so make sure you study the tides before crossing the Bloomfield River, and get advice from local police factoring in the extra effect of rain.
Lucky escape: this vehicle overturned at Woobadda Creek on the Bloomfield Track recently