A Chance to attract
THE Midland Highway reconstruction provides an opportunity to create a bicycle pathway from Launceston to Hobart (this direction due to prevailing North-westerly winds and the easier ascent of hills).
At a time when we are building and gaining acclaim for out mountain bike trails, this cycleway could cater for another group of tourists. The Midland Highway, historically unique and Australia's first macadamised road, is filled with highlights and travelling by bicycle is not too demanding.
It is important for safety reasons to separate vehicle traffic from bike riders and this can be allowed for during reconstruction with separate bicycle pathways as happens with many Queensland highways.
Not just a white line separation.
Much of the separation is already provided, particularly in the southern section, as cyclists will not be interested in bypassing towns such as Ross, Tunbridge, Oatlands, Jericho, Kempton, Dysart, Pontville and Brighton but rather keep to the old highway and so enjoy the many historic features and food and drink opportunities.
And then there are other points where highway reconstruction has occurred leaving sections of the old route now available for cyclists - Woodbury to Antill Ponds, the old highway south of Oatlands, the long Jericho deviation, both sides of Spring Hill, Youngtown to Breadalbane and Granton to Austin's Ferry and Claremont sections, leading to the former railway track into the heart of Hobart. Cyclists will be attracted to these routes as gradients on the old sections are usually gentler, where former highway routes have been privatised some negotiation with farmers will be necessary, but it is interesting to note that electricity poles still follow these old routes.
To encourage cyclists, camping grounds would be important and I suggest the South Esk River's edge in Perth, Elizabeth River in Campbell Town, Macquarie River in Ross, the shores of Lake Dulverton in Oatlands and a camping ground in Kempton, all located near food outlets and serviced already with nearby toilets. It will be important that bicycle paths are sign-posted, especially on the outskirts of by-passed towns.
A booklet describing the journey and its historical highlights with food outlets and overnight possibilities listed would be essential and could include redeemable coupons for stays and foodstuffs, all managed by some entrepreneur with a moderate cost involved.
It will be another way in which we attract and cater to the ever-increasing numbers of visitors to our island.
Dick James, Launceston.
Will Hodgman Exit
TASMANIANS will miss Will Hodgman's wise and effective leadership. His government has catapulted the state to a pre-eminent place in the nation and he has stamped himself as an exceptional political figure.
Tony Rundle, former Liberal premier.
Small Businesses Angry
VERY sad reading in (The Examiner, January 10) about the terrible vandalism and lack of respect of Launceston's showpiece, our much-loved giant Christmas tree.
When these muppets are caught, and they will be, the full force of the law must deal out severe punishment as a lesson that we as citizens of this beautiful river city have zero tolerance and condemn this unruly behaviour. When our country is burning, it beggars belief that these culprits show no sympathy in going out to help others, but insist on destroying the pleasure.
As a small city business owner going into our 15th year in these very challenging times, I rely heavily on Cityprom in decorating and addressing exciting installations to attract holiday-makers and locals.
This stupidity of vandalizing anything topical drives away retail business thus we all suffer. As a spokesperson for many businesses, let's hope the punishment will fit the crime.
Bruce Webb, Launceston.
Centrelink and Bushfires
THE first lot of people in bushfire areas claiming assistance from Centrelink have had their pleas for monetary assistance rejected. Who didn't see this coming?
Centrelink was using outdated maps and data to assess who was in or out of an area. Thankfully intervention and commonsense from the federal minister has seen these claims now accepted.
Max Wells, Sorell.
The Information Age
THE major downside of the "information age" is the fact that misinformation often gets a similar platform to real information and people can easily be manipulated into believing untruths. This might seem like harmless fun to the trolls spreading misinformation, but it can have serious consequences. For example, families having to decide whether to accept advice to evacuate their house in the face of bushfires, will base their decision on known facts.
If some well-credentialed person (politician, doctor) publicly states that concern about climate change is purely alarmism and so nothing has changed in our landscape, then that family may well consider that they need not heed the warning of scientists and bushfire experts (alarmists) and so make a very bad decision that may put their family in serious harm, as well as those brave firefighters who may have to risk all to save them. Similar trolls continue to refute the need to vaccinate our children against serious, but preventable, disease with silly claims that vaccination causes autism. The disastrous consequences of heeding that misinformation came to light in Samoa where 2 per cent of the population was infected by measles resulting in over 80 deaths. It seems we can't stop the trolls so I encourage everyone to carefully consider any information that may put themselves and family in harm, and to remember that we have a modern society now due to advanced knowledge in science, including in physics and medicine.