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Penguin News Update.

Friday, December 17th 2004 - 20:00 UTC
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Road route debate continues; Offer of help met with angry rock attack; Don't waste water; £30k for Tamar repair; Bremen's on her own.

Road route debate continues

A PETITION calling for the rerouting of the new road to Murrell Farm, the home of Adrian and Lisa Lowe, is to be passed to the Transport Advisory Committee (TAC). Approximately sixty people signed the petition, which was presented to the Planning and Building Committee last month, asking for the part of the road which crosses at Mastin's Point to be redirected to cross at Drunken Rock Pass. Campaigners argued that a crossing at Mastin's Point would spoil the area's recreational appeal. The petition was discussed by councillors in their General Purposes Committee (GPC) meeting held on Wednesday. Chairman of the Planning and Building Committee, Councillor Richard Cockwell said, "The petition came to us but it is not our decision to make - it was suggested in GPC that the proper place for the petition is the TAC. "Councillors had informal discussions on the subject but the formal decision cannot be made by GPC." He confirmed the petition will be passed to the TAC. Councillor Stephen Luxton said GPC believes the financial impact of rerouting makes it unlikely. He commented, "The general feeling was that the significant extra cost outweighed other concerns." The rerouting to Drunken Rock Pass would cost an additional amount in the region of £200,000. Campaigners for the rerouting believe the Murrell estuary is an unspoiled beauty spot and a road at Mastin's Point would disrupt this. However, Environmental Planning Officer Dominique Giudicelli, who visited the site on Tuesday, had different views. She said, "We tried to be as comprehensive as possible when looking at the Drunken Rock route's impact on the landscape, wildlife and road construction materials, the affect on the burrow pit and the impact on the Lowe family. "The landscape assessment was quite critical. If the road was to run up to a point possibly much wider than the existing proposed bridge at the crossing point at Drunken Rock, visually it would be more intrusive as it is a long view devoid of any built features, up the straight valley then crossing the river at the bend. "It would mean extra scarring to the landscape, particularly on the northern side, as the slope is quite steep and it would mean cutting in to the hillside. That and a new bridge could radically change the character of the valley." She added, "Extra construction materials would have to be extracted and this could result in the burrow pit being five times its intended size. This would definitely have implications for the landscape." The petitioners also feared a crossing at Mastin's Point would lead to overfishing of the river. Ms Giudicelli felt that by, "...creating an extra one kilometre or so of road next to the river, this would increase access opportunities to the river and could lead to more fishing."

Offer of help met with angry rock attack

A SERVICEMAN who "flipped" and threw a rock inside a vehicle full of people after they stopped to offer him help has narrowly avoided being sent to prison. Dale Shane Blackford (20), admitted throwing rocks inside and at the vehicle of Mrs Mandy Heathman; in the vehicle were six other passengers, four of whom were children. Crown Prosecutor Ros Cheek told the court Mr Blackford and a friend visited Stanley for the weekend on December 4 and 5. They spent Saturday evening around the pubs of Stanley and on Sunday visited Gypsy Cove and other areas of interest. At approximately 4pm they went the FIC West Store where Mr Blackford started to shake uncontrollably. His friend, Mr Brunton, suggested he go to the hospital but he refused. They left the West Store and travelled to Eliza Cove to look at damage caused recently by a fire on the common. Mr Blackford again began to shake and asked Mr Brunton to stop the vehicle; again he refused the suggestion of going to the hospital. Mr Blackford then walked around the vehicle picked up a rock and threw it at the vehicle. Mr Brunton was "shocked and scared" so drove off and left Mr Blackford by the road. Mrs Heathman was driving on the Eliza Cove Road and noticed the military vehicle and a man walking behind. The six passengers in the vehicle included four children aged from four to thirteen. After turning around and heading back towards Stanley Mrs Heathman noticed Mr Blackford still walking and suggested she ask if he needed assistance. She stopped and her elder daughter who was sitting in the front passenger seat wound down the window to ask , "...are you OK?" Mr Blackford gave a "two fingered gesture" in response. Mrs Heathman noticed that he was pale and wore an expression as if, "...spaced out with anger." He threw a stone though the open front passenger window which passed in front of the passenger and driver, connecting with the drivers window with sufficient force to break it, then walked off. Continued on page 3

Don't waste water

THE government is urging Stanley residents to keep an eye on their water consumption but has assured that the current level is far from critical. Water Supervisor at the Public Works Department, Craig Paice, says that while supply from the Moody Brook reservoir is keeping up with demand, people should be careful with consumption, "...and if they spot anything such as a leak or water lying around, please contact the Water Department." He says the situation is far from severe, comparing it with 2001, when the Falklands experienced a particularly dry spell. "In 2001, we recorded 16mm in September, 8mm in October and 13mm in November while in 2004, 39mm in both September and October and 9mm in November. Rainfall to this point in December 2001 was 3mm, and 6mm in December 2004. "These are hardly impressive levels for 2004 but, given that supply was maintained in 2001, it seems reasonable to think that even if rainfall continues to be very low supply should be able to meet normal usage into late January." Mr Paice said a dry weather plan exists, "...which starts with requests to reduce consumption, as voluntary action by consumers is preferable to imposing limitations." He confirmed that funds have been entered into the Capital Budget for a second water source to be established from the Murrell River and, " is hoped work will commence on that project in 2006/07."

£30k for Tamar repair

STANDING Finance Committee (SFC) has granted almost £30,000 for repairs to the bow thruster on coastal shipping vessel MV Tamar. The ship is owned by the Development Corporation (FIDC) and chartered to Island Shipping Ltd. The owner is responsible for "latent defects" that arise in the first five years of the charter. At its meeting yesterday SFC heard that the cost of the repair was not provided for in FIDC's budget but, due to urgency, was found from "existing resources". FIDC then had a shortfall of £29,998.36 it had to reclaim.

Bremen's on her own

ONLY one cruise ship is visiting the Falklands in the next week. Bremen (carrying approximately 150 passengers) will call into George and Barren Islands on Wednesday before heading to Stanley on Thursday.

Categories: Falkland Islands.

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