You shall not pass: grief for trav­ellers

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tib­balls

A reg­u­lar user of the Bloomfield track has ques­tioned the Dou­glas Shire’s de­ci­sion to close the un­sealed road af­ter re­cent rain­fall.

Chris Leach, who trav­els to Wu­jal from Cape Tribu­la­tion weekly said that the road was in good enough con­di­tion for lo­cal traf­fic and that clos­ing the road was detri­men­tal to lo­cal busi­ness and work­ers that rely on the road.

“I’ve got a bit of a beef with the coun­cil that they closed the road when seem­ingly, all in­tents and pur­poses it should be open at this stage.”

Mr Leach has de­fied the coun­cil clos­ing the road from Mon­day, Fe­bru­ary 6, to to­day by driv­ing any­way — which he sus­pects will draw the ire of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

“I’m happy to have that fight.

“It’s just ab­so­lutely ridicu­lous that it’s shut.

“What I’ve just driven on is a re­ally good road with some mi­nor washouts in the usual places, which now seems enough to close the road and I’m just sort of won­der­ing why and how.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Leach the trees that were re­ported to have fallen across the road were cleared quickly and there was ev­i­dence of other ve­hi­cles us­ing the road.

He ques­tioned the coun­cil’s re­sponse to close the road, ac­cus­ing it of over­re­act­ing to nor­mal weather con­di­tions and set­ting a dan­ger­ous prece­dent for fu­ture wet sea­sons.

“If it con­tin­ues to go down that track, the road will just be closed for four, five six months of the year as soon as it starts to rain, and that’s lu­di­crous.

Mr Leach said trees fall­ing over the road dur­ing the wet sea­son were “ab­so­lutely nor­mal over my past ex­pe­ri­ence of driv­ing up to Wu­jal. I carry a chain­saw with me when I travel up there this time of year be­cause as the soil gets wet, trees fall over.”

Mul­ti­ple other mem­bers of the com­mu­nity have also con­tacted the DSC to voice their con­cerns.

The DSC con­firmed that the road had been closed due to trees fall­ing, and added that a land­slip north of Em­ma­gen Creek was also part of the rea­son.

Ac­cord­ing to gen­eral man­ager op­er­a­tions Nick Well­wood the DSC had acted prop­erly by clos­ing the road, and had not over­re­acted.

“The road is not safe for ve­hi­cles and Coun­cil will im­ple­ment all ac­tions deemed ap­pro­pri­ate upon be­com­ing aware of any pub­lic safety is­sue,” said Mr Well­wood.

“Coun­cil un­der­stands that clos­ing the Bloomfield Track causes in­con­ve­nience to some res­i­dents and busi­nesses. How­ever ... Coun­cil takes pub­lic safety mat­ters se­ri­ously and has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to im­ple­ment ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions to mit­i­gate risks as nec­es­sary. We make ev­ery ef­fort to re­open the road as soon as it is safe and prac­ti­cal to do so.”

As of to­day part of the road up to Em­ma­gen Creek has been re­opened, but the rest re­mains closed. Works con­tinue.

Picture: CHRIS LEACH

A dam­aged sec­tion of the Bloomfield Track north of Em­ma­gen Creek

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