Royal Re-visit

Four years ago I visited Mt Royal National Park north of Singleton, and walked part of the the loop track that goes down to the creek in the valley. On Friday I returned and completed the full walk.

The Creek Walking Track, Mt Royal National Park.

The walk down and back was 6.2km, and it took 1 hour down, and 1 hour 20 minutes up. At the bottom of the track, just near the creek, there’s one lone picnic bench.

The creek itself is quite small, not much more than a trickle, even after some heavy rain the day before.

We walked back up the northern track, which in contrast to the southerm track has steps in some of the steeper sections.

Both tracks conveniently have a bench seat at about the halfway mark, for well earned rests.

On returning to the Youngville picnic area where we started the walk, the mountain was shrouded in cloud and mist, making a very picturesque scene.

After some lunch at the picnic area, we did the short walk up to Pieries Peak. This is only 2km return, and a much gentler grade than the creek walk.

Pieries Peak walk, Mt Royal National Park.

Leeches? Yes. On the way home I found one very bloated leech in my sock, and four leech bites on my ankle.

Hamilton North gasworks remediation

The Hamilton North gasworks site in 1944.

Each weekday, on my cycle commute to work , I pass the old gasworks site in Hamilton North. Jemena, the current owners of the land are in the process of remediating the site to deal with the nasty chemicals left behind from years of turning coal into town gas. So when I saw that Jemena were holding a community consultation session about the project in my local bowling club, I thought I’d summon up my ‘inner MacLean’ and pop in to see what’s happening.

As an engaged citizen interacting with a corporate behemoth, I felt a vague obligation to be angry, disputatious and reactionary. But as they explained that the Stage 2 remediation consists of a ‘cap and contain’ scheme of building a 9 metre deep wall near the western boundary to stop groundwater passing through the site into Styx Creek, along with a water impervious cover to stop rainwater infiltration, my main reaction was “That sounds like a good idea.”

The currently planned schedule (subject to jumping through all the right bureaucratic hoops in a timely fashion) is for the Stage 2 remediation construction to start in late 2018 and to be completed in early 2020. And I’ll get to watch (and smell) it each day as I cycle past.

Jemena community consultation session, 15th November 2017. Lambton Bowling Club.

Although the community consultation session was about the remediation of the site, and not what might be done with the site afterwards, I still put forward my dream of a cycleway along the creek one day.

A cycleway here, pretty please?

Gutter language

It happened again this morning on my way to work. An elderly man (not the same man as before) doing his ‘civic duty’ by throwing rubbish into the drain beside Hunter Stadium. This time however, I foolishly decided to challenge him about this, and in return copped a gobful of abuse telling me to mind my own f****** business.

As I rode away afterwards I reflected … I’m a human being living on this planet … it IS my business to care about how humanity is trashing the planet.

duck