Townsville City Council is closing the Castle Hill walking tracks and banning motorised boats on Ross River in an effort to further encourage social distancing and help slow the spread of COVID-19.
From Monday 5pm all Castle Hill walking tracks will be closed, with the Loam Island boat ramp on the Ross River closing tomorrow (Friday) afternoon.
The move follows significant feedback from the community about users not adhering to safe social distance rules at both locations.
Mayor and Townsville Local Disaster Management Group chairperson Jenny Hill said people needed to be more responsible.
“I know Castle Hill is loved by our community, which is why we have tried to find a compromise,” Cr Hill said.
While Council is closing the tracks, Castle Hill Road will now be dedicated solely to walkers and runners with the road set to close to traffic and bikes.
“We understand the importance of people still needing to get out and exercise so the compromise we have reached provides a wider and safer path for exercising at appropriate distance from each other,” Cr Hill said.
“Similarly, Ross River will still be opened to people who wish to kayak or paddle.”
District Disaster Coordinator, Acting Chief Superintendent Glen Pointing, said it was essential that we all do our part to abide by social distancing restrictions.
“Social distancing restrictions are in place to help keep our community as safe as possible,” Acting Chief Superintendent Pointing said.
“This includes staying more than 1.5m away from others, including when exercising. If you are walking up Castle Hill, be sure to give other walkers a wide berth of at least 1.5m. This is an important part of slowing the spread of COVID-19.”
Cr Hill said social distancing restrictions shouldn’t stop locals from getting in daily exercise.
“I want to encourage our residents to get out and enjoy their local park while sticking to the Federal Government’s social distancing restrictions,” Cr Hill said.
“Townsville has three world-class botanic gardens to enjoy: Anderson Gardens, Palmetum and Queens Gardens.
“Anderson Gardens is our largest garden, covering 25 hectares. It was originally an arboretum and has impressive plant collections to admire.”
In addition to the gardens Council has more than 500 kilometres of walking and riding paths across the city and around the river which are great places to go for exercise during this time.