Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Drive to Crows Nest

This is something Toowoomba people love to do at this time of the year, when the wattles along the highway are truly spectacular. The species you’ll see most of is the oleander wattle, Acacia nerifolia.
On the way, you can look at the marked trees of “Cathedral Drive” near Hampton, and see what the fuss is all about. There are about 1400 of these trees. They were marked with yellow spots and crosses by the Main Roads Department a few months ago. They planned to remove them for roadworks, aimed at making this accident-prone section of highway safer.
A local action group, which considered that the number of trees earmarked for removal was excessive, has gone along and tied conspicuous pink ribbons around some of the yellow-marked trees, making it easy for passers-by to visualise the scale of the proposed destruction. The group considers that the beauty of this drive has economic importance to all those involved in tourist-related industries, from Toowoomba to Crows Nest. Many of them also just like living somewhere beautiful, (and there’s no doubt that destruction of natural beauty in an area affects residential property values). Cathedral Drive would be providing habitat for a lot of wildlife, especially in those tree hollows, too.
As recent events have shown us, this stretch of road is unsuitable for drivers who are not concerned with enjoying the landscape as they drive, but just want to get where they’re going as fast as possible. We tend to take it for granted that highways should serve this function, Here is a piece of highway which does not.
The roadworks project has apparently been put on hold which the issues are worked out.
Continuing the drive to Crows nest, you can see, north of Pechey, the Main Roads idea of suitable clearing, and a highway which has been made "safe".
Like me, you’ll probably find yourself peering at the steep slopes they’ve created on the highway edges, all unprotected by any sort of railing, and wondering....
Much of the new highway was created from road which was once tree-lined. How would you rank it now - on a scale of 1 to 10 - for landscape beauty?
If you feel strongly about the issue, you might like to time your drive so you can call in at the rally which is to be held at Hampton tomorrow (Saturday August 15.)

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