Footpath issue still a sore point for residents
A SECTION of unsealed footpath at Barney Point has left one resident frustrated over a lack of action from Gladstone Regional Council.
It's been more than a year since retiree Roger Jones first informed The Observer about a section of unsealed footpath leading to the Young St railway bridge.
The 35-metre section is one of only two pedestrian exits from the area and is frequently used by residents with prams or mobility scooters.
The lack of a suitable footpath causes disabled residents to drive their scooters on the road which has a speed limit of 60km/h.
The council first flagged its five-stage Barney Point Footpath Strategy in 2015 with stages one and two already complete.
Construction of the $90,000 stage three is included in the proposed 2019/20 budget.
Mr Jones said the council's footpath strategy appeared to lack any strategy and questioned why the Young St section, which has more foot traffic than other sections in the five-stage plan, hadn't been marked for construction sooner.
"In Barney Point there's two points of entrance - Bell St across the bridge and this one at Young St - and you've got to join the two of them up," he said.
"This does that but does it in a very strange way. If council want to build footpaths in Barney Point isn't the next question what are the more important ones to build first that will give a greater safety dividend and a greater benefit to more ratepayers?
"Once you've done that you'd join the dots up with the rest.
"They can build a footpath to a phone box and build a footpath to a mail box but can't build one to a bridge."
The council said it had investigated completing stage five prior to stage three.
"During those investigations, council revisited the detailed designs proposed for current and future stages," a spokesperson said.
"It became evident that while there was a potential to swap the order of work, current stage five designs did not provide the connectivity required, as the design had the footpath terminating at the steps to the Young St bridge.
"To make stage five accessible by wheelchair, pram or mobility scooter, redesign is required. From initial investigations, it would require a series of three ramps to get from the bottom of the hill to the top.
"This review is likely to occur over the next 6-12 months in line with reviews of council's capital works plan."
Mr Jones believed this would likely mean any works wouldn't commence until 2022 - some four years after it was first highlighted as an issue.
"In some ways my concern is about the bigger picture - if simple rules aren't applied to footpaths in Gladstone, what other decisions are council making using this same 'strategy' style?," Mr Jones said.
Council has proposed stage five of the Barney Point Footpath Strategy for the 2021/22 financial year.