Breaking news!

Petition count has swept past the 900 mark & still going strong!
Pickering Bridge on the Mary River at Moy Pocket is a well-known spot for river recreation. Apart from being the setting for the long-running Brownwater Classic, it marks the commencement of one of the best kayaking sections of the Mary (Pickering Bridge to Walker Road) and is a popular swimming and fishing spot.
Photo A1?
Its future is uncertain, because of a new high speed road bridge being constructed beside it. We want the old bridge saved and maintained for pedestrian and recreation use!
Photo A1?
While floods have swept away or damaged many bridges across the Mary, the current timber single-lane E. Pickering Bridge is a real survivor. This is generally attributed to its being a low-level bridge which means it is well submerged by the time any bridge-damaging flood debris gets mobilised.
It is a robust bridge having been upgraded a couple of times in the past twenty years to withstand the relentless onslaught of 50 tonne quarry trucks.
Photo A1?
While the new higher level two-lane concrete bridge currently under construction is touted as a boon for local residents, it is widely acknowledged that it is really being built to expedite the movement of quarry materials particular for the next stage of the Bruce highway reconstruction. It’s about 3 km from the Boral quarry on the side of the Kenilworth Bluff, and on its major haul route, Moy Pocket Road. The bridge lies on the border of the Sunshine Coast Council and the Gympie Regional Council but all the work on the new bridge is being carried out by the Sunshine Coast Council.
In the planning stage locals asked for a dedicated pedestrian walkway on the new bridge but were told it was too costly. They then asked about retaining the old bridge, a notion that Sunshine Coast Council investigated and dismissed as also being too costly to provide safety rails etc, and also that it may interfere with the flood resistance of the new bridge immediately downstream.
Undeterred, residents again asked for its retention and the Sunshine Coast Council commissioned a report to investigate the cost. The Tod Report has missed the point about year-round recreation usage of the area and focused on whether it was economically viable to retain the bridge for just a few public events each year. And while it provided an over-the-top assessment of the risks to users of the retained bridge, it was plainly outside its scope to consider the safety of pedestrians using the new bridge, mixing it with fast-moving traffic.It seemed more skewed towards supporting the decision to demolish the old bridge!
There are absurd safety demands in the Tod Report! Visit the old retained timber bridge at George Best Park near Yandina and you’ll get an inkling of what Pickering Bridge could be like. The Yandina Bridge is not encumbered by a excess of liability-fearing signage and handrails, and is simply a much-used feature of a recreation park.
What we need now is a surge of people power calling on both councils to keep the old bridge. Even with the possibly inflated cost envisaged in the Tod report it amounts to only around $6,500 per year for each Council. As well as this we’ve written to the CEO of BORAL reminding him of his company’s environment policy of “open, constructive engagement with communities surrounding our operations” asking BORAL to chip in to the cost of keeping the bridge, since they will be a major beneficiary of the new bridge.
Instant Activism
How you can help!
Signing the petition is number one! It’s available in businesses in Imbil and Kenilworth, or here as a download – for you to print and share amongst your family, friends and workmates (please return petitions to us at PO Box 115, Kenilworth Q 4574, as soon as possible after filling the page)

Write a letter to Gympie and Sunshine Coast councils, asking them to keep the bridge! Not sure what to write? Click here for a few suggestions...

Gympie Regional Council
PO Box 155

Sunshine Coast Council
Locked bag 72
Sunshine Coast Mail Centre Q4560

Write a letter to Boral, owner of the nearby quarry, and reason for the heavy truck volume on these roads. Ask them to chip in for the cost of bridge retention and maintenance as part of their commitment to the local community.

Boral Quarries
720 Moy Pocket Rd
Moy Pocket, QLD, 4574

The Editor of the Gympie Times, as well as giving a front page spread to the Keep the Bridge story, used his editorial to say the plan was “a good call” and he’s already published a number of Letters to the Editor in support.

Write him another  - editor@gympietimes.com

And don’t forget the Sunshine Coast Daily too - letters@scnews.com.au

Join our mailing list! Don’t worry, we won’t bombard you with mail, it just gives a direct and instant way to get in touch if there’s anything else you can do, or any action planned at the bridge.
Tell your friends and encourage them to visit this site for information.
Have you looked at the photo album yet? See why this beautiful area needs a pedestrian bridge!
Topics for letters, some suggestions...
The new bridge has no pedestrian walkway or cycle lane. Keeping the bridge would provide a safe, people-friendly river access point where you can cross the river without being exposed to high speed trucks and other traffic.
We are losing our heritage of old wooden bridges! Pickering Bridge is no decrepit old bridge. It’s been revamped twice in the last twenty years to withstand the relentless onslaught of 50 tonne quarry trucks.
The bridge has superior flood resilience by virtue of its low level, making it an excellent candidate for retention.
Saving the bridge would provide a river access point in keeping with the Mary Valley Renewal Plan, which listed river access for recreation and public utilisation as a high priority.
Keeping the bridge would provide good access points for kayaks, particularly important since road realignment for the new bridge will block the current vehicle-accessible launching point.
Press Release 29/10/13

Bridge petition passes 900 mark.

The petition asking both Sunshine Coast and Gympie Regional Councils to retain the old timber Pickering Bridge has swept past the 900-signature mark.

A Keep the Bridge Information stall at the Mary River Festival in Kandanga this Saturday will offer a last chance to sign the petition.

The single-lane timber bridge across the Mary River at Moy Pocket near Kenilworth
will become redundant once the new high-level concrete one comes into operation but there’s been a strong call for it to be retained for safe river access.

The spot is a popular place to access the Mary River and increasingly popular as a start or end point for kayakers. Initially we’d asked the Sunshine Coast council to include a pedestrian walkway on the new bridge to make it a lot safer given the number of large vehicles using the road.

We’ve been really heartened by the strong response the petition has received. So many people we talk to have been to the spot to swim or to picnic and see that keeping the old bridge exclusively for pedestrians is much safer and is an all-round better idea than pulling it down.

There are two snags as the councils see it, though. They worry that the old bridge, being upstream of the new one, may work loose in a flood and do damage, and they worry about having to do extra maintenance.

The low level of the bridge and the fact it has been upgraded a couple of times over the past twenty-five years to deal with its heavy truck burden, as well as small additional work, all act to make it a good prospect as a flood survivor. After all, it has emerged intact after flooding that has claimed many local bridges over the past thirty or so years.

And because of its being located on the boundary of the two council regions, it presents a unique opportunity to share maintenance costs and these could be reduced even further as nearby quarry owner BORAL has undertaken  “to help reach a good outcome for river users”.

One thing that has kept coming up, in the Mary River Renewal Plan and elsewhere, is the need for better access to the river. Retained bridges at Yandina, Weyba, Calliope and elsewhere have proved to be popular spots for river recreation as well as being a link to our heritage of old timber bridges.

What we have here is a one-off opportunity, and we sincerely hope that both Councils listen to the voice of the people and retain the old bridge.

Click here to download your copy of the petition - pass it around your friends, family, workmates or neighbourhood!


  Looking for the STOP PRESS Save the Mary River / No Dam website?

It's been archived by the State Library of Queensland as
part of the Pandora Project, and is available here.

..I.. You can contact arkin[at]stoppress.com.au for more information..I..