Jo Faith, Newtown.
Travelling the east coast stretch of highways from the south to the north reveals moments of good news and bad news. Good news was revealed in some townships along the route: they have flashing lights warning drivers of areas where koalas are crossing. They flash night and day. ‘Mmm, great respect for life and the rights of nature’ I thought.
I arrive in Byron and a roundabout is being created on a ‘black spot’ in Ewingsdale Rd. Directly in an area where koalas cross. Also close to the neglected Belongil Bridge and the pedestrian crossing. Strangely, in this ‘black spot’ there appears to be little policy compliance concerning human life rights and the lives of endangered koalas –added to which there appears to be a dual road being created. Bad news for life of the human and animal species. And good news for the West Byron development. Has council addressed an EIS or Social Impact Study? Has the state government ratified this ad hoc development?
Both species of life – human and koalas – will be endangered if there is not strong signage, eg flashing lights for koalas and stop lights where human life is respected and rights for social space is equalised between the rights of the car and the rights of living human species.
We know that koalas cannot read so drivers will need to heed flashing lights. And, as for humans, if there are no stop lights they will continue to have no rights when crossing and be forced to wear skates when competing against cars and drivers. That is why a stop light is imperative, like the city, ‘go pedestrians the green light gives you the legal right to cross. And as a little old lady said to me in Newtown, ‘Stick to the lights dear. If you get hit you or die you get greater compensation!’ Crossing lights would be good news for progressive Byron.
Lets remember that the car is a lethal weapon and we are witnessing much of Byron becoming a ‘black spot.’ Namely the impact of more traffic on the Belongil Bridge.
Is this bridge in the high priority category for maintenance (recall Granville?) given the growing intensity of traffic it is meant to carry? Indeed, all bridges deserve greater priority as we address climate change and the growing risk of floods and threats to life. Gone are the 20th century policies addressing the 100-year flood preparations. Do we have 21st century policies incorporating the ever present risks/threats of floods and evacuation?
If so, that would be good news; if not, Byron folks can create the good news by collectively addressing policy revision with a greater respect to all species life as a top priority in the 21st century.