I’m writing this so that, if I go missing, you will know I am on the bottom of a waterway somewhere in Northern Tasmania, wearing gigantic boots fashioned from asphalt. People who I’ve never met before are saying they know me, that they’ve seen my moosh in the paper, or have looked at the community facebook group I administer (Drive Less Launceston) which, although it has less than 200 “likes”, would probably set some kind of record for “unlikes” if facebook had such a button.
I’m getting phone calls on the weekend from local aldermen. Emails from head honchos in infrastructure. Shifty looks from guys in bad suits. It can’t be long before the anonymous death threats start coming. Have you seen the movie The Hunter? It was set in this part of the world. The average voter in these parts could be fairly described as a snake wielding Baptist counting god’s blessings by the acres of asphalt bestowed on this land. We really do awaken each morning to the sight of new asphalt. It comes in the night like manna from Heaven.
Meanwhile I am the philistine saying widening roads by narrowing footpaths is making god’s people fat. I point out that the woolstores (upper right in the image above) don’t have to be demolished to make the world’s biggest car park relative to the size of the silo conversion that will supposedly need such a car park if it is to attract guests.
Hell, even the building I work in, that won awards for its labyrinth cooling, water saving flush mechanisms and hidden light switches, has more car parking than Holland.
But the people of this town are steadfast in their faith. The acts of widening roads and adding surface car parking are divinely decreed. By coming here talking of bikes, I’m the one with the golden calf idol.
This is the second oldest city in Australia, after Sydney then Hobart. It is Australia’s first free settler city—built to serve agriculturalists, rather than as a place to store prisoners. The old housing stock is richer in detail than any to be found elsewhere in the whole of this nation. What a shame that one or two generations of red neck local representatives and Mongoloid* council staff can get away with Americanising every last inch.