Down by the river is a great place to start
GYMPIE man Dan Warne would like his canoe to see more of the Mary River and is calling on Gympie Regional Council to provide greater access for residents and tourists.
Development of the riverbanks at popular spots near Gympie has become somewhat of an election issue, with at least two candidates in Division 4 (Gympie itself) saying they want to make it happen.
Mr Warne (pictured left at The Sands on the Mary River, just north of Normanby Bridge) is circulating a petition calling for a safe 2WD all-weather access to "enjoy our river to keep active and healthy".
River access has been raised at a number of election forums and has been embraced enthusiastically online by The Gympie Times readers.
Mr Warne described the Mary as Gympie's "main asset".
"Why is there no recreation area on the river provided for the ratepayers and their families?" he asked.
"The Sands beach area below Normanby Bridge is the ideal location," he said.
"It has deep water for swimming, canoeing, fishing and room for picnics.
"There is a 4WD track at present to this area, improved when (Central Shopping Centre) was built to allow water trucks access, but the track and turn off the highway are rough."
Mr Warne said the location would be ideal for an accessible, 2WD all-weather track.
"It is below the (Gympie Waterworks) but above the sewerage outlet, which makes it an ideal spot for families," he said.
The Mary River enthusiast said Tiaro and Maryborough shared Gympie's problem with flooding yet still managed to have river recreation areas.
Mr Warne also took a swipe at the council over the removal of access to Widgee Crossing, which for many years has been a popular spot for fishing, picnics and swimming.
"Councillors have taken the easy way out to avoid maintaining this road and have placed boulders blocking access to this area," he said.
"Their excuse is that 4WDs were deviating off the track and causing erosion.
"An easy remedy to this would be to place rocks along the track edge where there are no trees to prevent turning off the track."
Mr Warne's petition for Mary River access and the potential development of a 2WD track to The Sands can be signed at Gympie BCF, Unearthed, Heilbronn's Four Square, and Camping and Outdoors in Duke St.