There was a time when it seemed like nearly everyone who lived in the Huon was passionate about the area, and particularly about the Huon River itself.
During the early Pedder years then local MLC young Michael Hodgman used to put a container of muddied Huon River water on the parliamentary table each day to draw attention to the degradation of the river being caused by hydro-electric construction at Scotts Peak.
That local love and care still persisted a few years ago when the construction of a new bridge across the Huon, associated with the Southwood development, saw establishment of a scenic picnic spot there. A brightly painted wall constructed in the picnic area was presumably the product of local schoolkids having become involved in what seemed destined to be another little low key gem among the local scenic options.
How times have changed.
It was not long before the first evidence of rubbish dumping appeared. Initially it was sufficiently small scale that it was possible to clean some of it up when passing by.
But the dumping increased in scale and was then followed by a burnt out, presumably stolen, car. The schoolkids artwork was vandalised, and next it was piles of burnt tyres – any clean up now required trucks, no longer just garbage bag exercises by passing bushwalkers and others.
A quick response to the emerging problem by those responsible for management of the site might have nipped things in the bud, but instead the situation was allowed to continue. Cleaning up might need to be repeated, but not cleaning up and not attempting to deal with those responsible just sends a message that no-one cares, effectively giving an okay to such behaviour continuing.
The accompanying photograph depict a little of the state of the place as I saw it today, 15 October 2018. The graffiti also present on an adjacent road cutting was too predictable to bother including.
The multiple piles of burnt tyres in various place beside the road on both sides of the bridge indicate the current mess is not the result of just one or two sessions, but of an ongoing sequence of tyre burning, whether by yobbos or as a more organised exercise in getting rid of tyres that might otherwise attract a disposal fee.
In a state where seemingly all that now matters is what tourist see and spend rather than the quality of the environment enjoyed by mere Tasmanians, a nearby sign designating the road as a “Priority Truck Route – use at your own risk” is presumably seen as sufficient insurance against tourists seeing another ugly little local truth behind the tourism façade, hence no official response is apparently deemed necessary.
Whatever happened to the love and intense pride that was felt by previous residents of the Huon?
So sad that it no longer seems sufficiently strong in the hearts of those who dwell there, that they do not demand better of those who purport to govern and serve them, and of the forest industry that established the route, maintain the road and supposedly “manage” the area.