Near-death incident reignites island road debate

THE rescue of a man stung by a deadly jellyfish on a pristine but inaccessible Magnetic Island beach has reignited frustrations over Radical Bay Rd's staggering state of disrepair.

The only road into picturesque Radical Bay is riddled with potholes and is in such bad condition that vehicles, particularly emergency vehicles, can no longer use it.

Residents have been asking for help for years, but the issue has been handballed from private developer Graeme Juniper, who has held a development application on land in the area for 17 years, to Townsville City Council, who says it's the responsibility of the State Government, and back to the council.

Radical Bay Rd, Radical Bay, Magnetic Island, is rough as guts and has crater-sized potholes. Picture: Supplied
Radical Bay Rd, Radical Bay, Magnetic Island, is rough as guts and has crater-sized potholes. Picture: Supplied

Townsville MP Scott Stewart said yesterday that legislation proved Radical Bay Rd - although it runs through unallocated state land - was the responsibility of the council, like all other roads on Magnetic Island.

He said the council could use the State Government's $236 million Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme, which is administered by the councils that sit of a regional roads and transport group on a 50/50 funding basis, to fix up Radical Bay Rd, but said it looked as though none of the money had been allocated to Magnetic Island this financial year.

Townsville City Council maintains that Radical Bay Rd, due to Graeme Juniper's involvement in his long-proposed private resort at Florence Bay, was a private road.

"Council shares the community's concerns about the state of the road and has written to the owners requesting they repair it," a spokesman said.

 

Magnetic Island was crowned in the top 10 of TripAdvisor's best holiday destinations, but its roads are akin to those found in dilapidated parts of developing nations. Picture: Barekiwi
Magnetic Island was crowned in the top 10 of TripAdvisor's best holiday destinations, but its roads are akin to those found in dilapidated parts of developing nations. Picture: Barekiwi

 

But the council and Mr Juniper remain locked in a legal battle that appears not to have budged since it was first reported by the Bulletin last August, over the council's decision not to extend the approval for his housing development project.

With the political back-end-forth showing no signs of abating, Magnetic Island residents have been left fearing it will take the death of a tourist for action to occur.

A WA tourist, on the island visiting for the funeral of family friend Ian Ivers' wife, had been on Radical Bay on Saturday afternoon when he was stung on the throat by a suspected Irukandji jellyfish.

Mr Ivers rang the ambulance to meet his son and the injured man at nearby Arthur Bay, but the 4WD drive they were in hit a large pothole and was severely damaged.

 

Queensland ALP member for Townsville Scott Stewart speaks during Question Time at Parliament House in Brisbane, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)
Queensland ALP member for Townsville Scott Stewart speaks during Question Time at Parliament House in Brisbane, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

Deemed too inaccessible, the rescue helicopter was tasked to take the man to hospital. In the meantime backpackers in the area ran on foot to Horseshoe Bay to grab a bottle of vinegar, and a lifeguard there was tasked on a jet ski in case the helicopter was unable to land.

It is understood police officers attempted to get to the man, but ended up damaging their vehicle as well.

Eventually he was flown to Townsville University Hospital in a stable condition, Queensland Ambulance confirmed.

"It's ridiculous … all three tiers of government are sitting on their hands, no one wants to do anything," Mr Ivers said.

Magnetic Island Residents and Ratepayers Association president Cameron Turnbull said the council seemed to be happy blaming everyone else including Mr Juniper because they didn't want to spend any money on it.