Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Retrofitting South Arm Highway

*Pic: IMAGE found on the web of a wildlife crossing in Brisbane.

As the candidates fight for votes in the Pembroke election for an Upper House seat, could the South Arm Highway be a high ground issue?

Before this highway was built, the hills above Bellerive and Howrah had a much higher wildlife population, and people were able to walk over the hills from Bellerive to Knopwood Hill.

Then the South Arm Highway cut through the hills, providing suburban convenience, but devastating the local wildlife population.

Not being voters, animals don’t count ~ or do they?

When we allow the environment to be degraded, we take away something from the quality of our own lives.

When the South Arm Highway cut through the hills, the quality of life was reduced for people, no longer being able to walk across a 4-lane highway through the hills.

Should a wildlife crossing have been build with the highway, allowing wildlife to move over the hills, maintaining higher populations, and also allowing people to continue enjoying a walk in the bush?

That opportunity was lost when the highway was build, but it could be recaptured now, by retrofitting the South Arm Highway ~ with a land bridge and wildlife crossing, as can now be seen in many locations around Australia.

I first proposed retrofitting the South Arm Highway 21 years ago, but obviously, progress on that front has been a tad slow.

The matter rose up when proposing the Sky Walk idea, for a walking trail along the hills from Bellerive to Droughty Point.

That is a walk I did many times as a child growing up in Howrah.

I wondered why other children and their parents shouldn’t be able to enjoy that walk as well.

In the years that followed parts of the Sky Walk were made possible with subdivision decisions, including across the top of the Howrah Hills to Knopwood Hill, and a 2 kilometre section along the Droughty Hills toward Droughty Point.

No longer living in Howrah, or Bellerive, the battle for the Sky Walk is largely in the hands of local residents.

A great first step to completing the Sky Walk, would be to fight for a land bridge and wildlife crossing over the South Arm Highway, where it roars between Howrah and Mornington.

Win that battle of the hills, and interest will gather in completing this work for future generation.

Elections are an excellent time to annoy the candidates and extract promises.

Retrofitting the South Arm Highway would be a rather good promise to extract.

Where the South Arm Highway cuts through the Howrah Hills

The line of the South Arm Highway, between Howrah and Mornington, before it was built ~ map found in a 1969 street directory.

*Kim Peart was raised in Howrah when it was still farmland in the 1950s, and watched the suburb grow, great piles of dirt to play on where the roads were made, and houses popping up like mushrooms. It was during the great debate over housing subdivision in the Howrah Hills that Kim was approached, and responded with the idea of the Sky Walk, as a way to connect people in the suburbs with the life of the hills. Many years of engagement in landcare, coastcare and bushcare followed. In 1998 environmental students at the University of Tasmania made a study of the ‘Skywalk Trail’, Frances Mowling and Leigh Stevens, working under the supervision of Dr Jim Russell. Kim now lives in Ross, where he is calling for more walking trails around the heritage of the town and surrounding farmlands.

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  1. Robin Charles Halton

    October 13, 2017 at 4:43 am

    I will be in SW WA over the next month with my wife studying all of natures wonders in this lush area of the SW.

    Our first trip to WA, flying to Perth and return, too far to drive to in my opinion.

    Particularly interested in the giant Karri, Marri and Jarrah forests and how they are being managed and how the modern built environment and rural areas around the region copes with frequent bushfires that we hear about in the news.

    Looking foward to observing wildflowers, bird life , mammals and differing natural landscapes as well as forestry.

    May take a particular interest in these wildlife corridors ( built or natural) to see what SW WA has to offer in the way of fauna protection.

  2. Kim Peart

    October 12, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Re: 2 ~ A wildlife fair at Koonya will be marvellous.

    At this stage I would need a remote control robot to attend with, or a screen set up with the virtual world, and communicate with folk via my avatar, Starfarer.

    I will be exploring such options for connecting people around the Earth to events in Bremen, Germany, at the International Astronautical Congress next year.

    With the virtual world, as part of a campaign to get that wildlife and people crossing built over the South Arm Highway, I can look to virtual world models of what it would be like.

    Animated wildlife can be used, as the level of such animations in the virtual worlds is now quite amazing.

    Even trees can be animated to rustle in the breeze.

    And folk will be able to drive along the virtual world highway in virtual world cars, to see what the land bridge will be like when built.

    Who would like that as an up-to-date campaign weapon?

    This experience can also be accessed with virtual reality headsets.

    And on location at the South Arm Highway, augmented reality viewers can be used to show what could be there, scenes which can also appear in a tablet.

    The tablet method is nearly the simplest way available for an on-site inspection.

    The simplest way is to stand there and describe it for a group, and hold up an illustration.

    If anyone attending Koonya decides they would like an on-site inspection of the proposed wildlife and people crossing over South Arm Highway, we could arrange that, and invite folk around the place to turn up.

  3. Robin Charles Halton

    October 11, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Kim, Its just come to my attention there will be a Tasmanian Wildlife Fair at the Koonya Hall on Saturday.

    Could be an opportunity to promote the Wildlife corridor concept. It would be brilliant to have such a structure along the Howrah Hills site.

    We were very impressed with the Brisbane/Sunshine Coast example on the Bruce Highway. The way of the future for safe movement of wildlife is by the use of the wildlife corridors principle.

    I remember back in the early 90’s FC started planning many of their coupes with the use of contiguous wildlife corridors usually following areas of rough terrain or wider stream-side reserves only broken by passing forestry roads and tracks which get occasional use.

    Unfortunately HWP expansion was not so kind to wildlife. During restoration of these sites there is much more to consider of natural values during the 2R (Second rotation) process.

    The Forest Practice Code needs to be severely imposed, particularly on private land.

  4. Chris

    October 4, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Great sandstone available now at Lovely Banks, could prove to be very useful and in keeping with Ross before that becomes Hansonite.

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