Weston Park only open when the government wants you there…

By 20 April, 2012 21

I drove down to Weston Park this morning, getting there around 6:15am.  

The plan was to try and get some photos amongst the trees in this morning’s fog.  

To my surprise there’s a bloomin’ great gate across the entrance blocking off entry to the park.  

Helpful government signs tell me the park is closed overnight and I should come back at 7am when if I’m lucky some tax payer funded gate unlocker will have done their job and re-opened the park to car traffic.    

Why is the park locked at all?  

I could have just as easily walked in or cycled in.  

Why are they discriminating against car users?  (I could have cycled there from home but that’s not the point).  
Does the government suspect the park will be used by car users for nefarious nocturnal naughtiness?  Illegal campervan parking?  Satanic rituals? (would need to lug all the gear in by car obviously).  

Luckily I didn’t have far to drive, but if I had I would have been gutted rather than just annoyed.  

I’m right of centre on the political spectrum – but to me this is just another example of government introducing measures that are slowly turning a once free and easy society into an open air prison.

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21 Responses to Weston Park only open when the government wants you there…
#1
buzz81910:59 am, 20 Apr 12

Umm… Are you serious? Just about every single one of these recreation areas are locked over night, Weston, Pine Island, Black Mountain Peninsula etc.

It isn’t because the government wants to imprison society, it’s because the certain elements of society that ruin it for everyone have done exactly that, vehicle related damage, unlawful activities etc. If there is no car for people to sit in while they are down there it means people wont stay and vandalise etc. which ends up costing the government more money in the long run.

But yes, you should go to the human rights commission and say that you have been discriminated against.

#2
Here_and_Now11:07 am, 20 Apr 12

Here_and_Now said :

Helpful government signs tell me the park is closed overnight and I should come back at 7am when if I’m lucky some tax payer funded gate unlocker will have done their job and re-opened the park to car traffic.    

What an explicit sign! :)

#3
c_c11:15 am, 20 Apr 12

“Why are they discriminating against car users?”

Seriously, why are people so lazy? Just get out and walk for goodness sake.

The reason it’s locked off is because of vandalism and car hooks doing burn outs. They cover the roads with oil, leave trash and vandalise everything in sight.

It sucks I know that because of some a-holes in our community, everything needs to be fenced of, tied down and gated. But that’s the reality.

So lose the whole libertarian diatribe and focus your anger on the scum who force such measures to be implemented.

#4
nsn11:16 am, 20 Apr 12

What buss819 said.

Of course you could have just parked your car near the gate and then walked from there. But that would have probably been quite difficult, what with all the additional weight from the chip on your shoulder.

#5
Here_and_Now12:16 pm, 20 Apr 12

I will add, bonus points for bringing taxpayer money into your misfortune. If you can work in ‘revenue raising’ and ‘nanny state’, I think that’s the full set! :)

#6
Here_and_Now12:17 pm, 20 Apr 12

Ahem. Joking aside, I can see why this is frustrating. It seems once again the disruptive few have ruined things for the rest of us.

#7
Watson1:39 pm, 20 Apr 12

I remember when they put that gate in because I was pregnant at the time and was used to going for a walk there at the crack of dawn each morning. Until they put the gate in… Though it is true that you can just walk in of course – I am just a very habitual person and didn’t have much time before work so I went elsewhere.

From memory, the trigger was some repeated acts of vandalism at night. I think it involved putting bins on fire, but it’s nearly 8 years ago, so I’m pretty vague on the details.

#8
deye1:44 pm, 20 Apr 12

As a photographer the timing of the locked gates around town is very annoying (particularly Mt Pleasant), not so much the opening times, but the closing times. You can walk in and get some great shots e.g. http://www.flickr.com/photos/d-eye/6565701203/in/set-72157628541080861
but personally I prefer to keep the car in view where possible, which isn’t the case at Weston Park.

#9
astrojax2:23 pm, 20 Apr 12

Watson said :

I remember when they put that gate in because I was pregnant at the time and was used to going for a walk there at the crack of dawn each morning. Until they put the gate in… Though it is true that you can just walk in of course – I am just a very habitual person and didn’t have much time before work so I went elsewhere.

From memory, the trigger was some repeated acts of vandalism at night. I think it involved putting bins on fire, but it’s nearly 8 years ago, so I’m pretty vague on the details.

..and you’ll have had baby brain! :)

clearly, the fog and trees were only inside the locked park and nowhere with free access, along the lake in various car parks for instance, appealed to this morning’s mist – only the locked parks. clever mist…

so, did you get any shots? do we get to see them?

#10
jawm2:42 pm, 20 Apr 12

Agreed we live in a city where there will always be yahoos who want to burn things (or whatever) in the dark, in secluded locations. However I don’t think that the rest of us should be inconvenienced (with things like locked gates) just because of a few ne’re-do-wells. By the way there are more than enough ovals and other dark and secluded spots in Canberra where people could get up to anti-social behaviour. We don’t lock up *everything* when the big shiny thing drops from the sky every night so why bother with doing it for some parks? We don’t lock up Red Hill every night do we? We don’t close off Cotter Road ‘just in case’. The current logic also assumes all ne’re-do-wells come in via car – I’m sure there are plenty on foot/bicycle/trail bike too.

@nsn and @c_c re: walking in… If you read my post properly you would have read “(I could have cycled there from home but that’s not the point).”

Imagine if I was say a disabled driver, a pregnant woman or it was just absolutely wet and freezing but I fancied an early morning drive down to Weston Park… sorry, not before 7AM.

I’ll be irritating and rude (because you were to me) but I reckon I probably do more walking and biking than you do (isn’t the internet fun?) – but I still value the option to use my car if I so choose.

When I first moved to Canberra almost a quarter century ago I’m pretty sure I could drive into Weston Park whenever I pleased – no gates. I’d be surprised if the yobs of today are any worse than they were back then.

@Here_and_Now ..just for you… yes, we have become a Nanny State (sorry, just couldn’t quite work in “revenue raising”)… maybe next time… ;-)

#11
c_c2:58 pm, 20 Apr 12

jawm said :

@nsn and @c_c re: walking in… If you read my post properly you would have read “(I could have cycled there from home but that’s not the point).”

Imagine if I was say a disabled driver, a pregnant woman or it was just absolutely wet and freezing but I fancied an early morning drive down to Weston Park… sorry, not before 7AM.

I’ll be irritating and rude (because you were to me) but I reckon I probably do more walking and biking than you do (isn’t the internet fun?) – but I still value the option to use my car if I so choose.

So why didn’t you cycle?

And for that matter, why didn’t you know the place was locked up, it’s been like that for years. Even if you didn’t go there while the gates were shut in the past, the signage and gates are still visible?

#12
jawm3:13 pm, 20 Apr 12

@c_c “So why didn’t you cycle?” …I’m so glad you’re showing so much interest (slow day?) again, if you had read my post properly I said “The plan was to try and get some photos” – carrying a load of photo gear including a huge camera bag and a big tripod on a bicycle is impractical.

>>And for that matter, why didn’t you know the place was locked up, it’s been like that for years.
Well… maybe I just don’t have your superior powers of situational awareness.

>>Even if you didn’t go there while the gates were shut in the past, the signage and gates are still
>>visible?

indeed… they are not invisible… in fact I must have ridden/driven/walked/jogged past them thousands of times – but guess what, I hadn’t noticed them before… (there’s so much sign pollution in Canberra I tend to just phase it all out)… (obviously I should be hanged (I’m sure you’d be up for the job) for such a wild and irresponsible devil-may-care approach to municipal signage)… we’re not all as perfect as you I’m glad to say…

#13
DanielK3:54 pm, 20 Apr 12

probably better not to take this any further Jawm. Logoff and lick your wounds.

#14
FioBla4:50 pm, 20 Apr 12

Jawm usually shares some really nice photos. Do a search.

Even if I don’t agree that car users are being discriminated against, or that government is creating an open air prison. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

I’m also not a photographer—they have pretty swish tools.

#15
Woody Mann-Caruso7:11 pm, 20 Apr 12

What kind of camera gear are you lugging around that you can’t fit in a backpack? What’s your tripod made from? Lead? A naked singularity? Couldn’t find a collapsible one?

(I bet everybody at flickr was gutted there weren’t some more really original photos of trees in fog to look at.)

#16
Anna Key9:52 pm, 20 Apr 12

Its all an ASIO-CIA plot

#17
Anna Key9:55 pm, 20 Apr 12

jawm said :

@c_c “So why didn’t you cycle?” …I’m so glad you’re showing so much interest (slow day?) again, if you had read my post properly I said “The plan was to try and get some photos” – carrying a load of photo gear including a huge camera bag and a big tripod on a bicycle is impractical.

>>And for that matter, why didn’t you know the place was locked up, it’s been like that for years.
Well… maybe I just don’t have your superior powers of situational awareness.

>>Even if you didn’t go there while the gates were shut in the past, the signage and gates are still
>>visible?

indeed… they are not invisible… in fact I must have ridden/driven/walked/jogged past them thousands of times – but guess what, I hadn’t noticed them before… (there’s so much sign pollution in Canberra I tend to just phase it all out)… (obviously I should be hanged (I’m sure you’d be up for the job) for such a wild and irresponsible devil-may-care approach to municipal signage)… we’re not all as perfect as you I’m glad to say…

Do you bracket your exposures as well as your sentences?

#18
c_c10:58 pm, 20 Apr 12

jawm said :

carrying a load of photo gear including a huge camera bag and a big tripod on a bicycle is impractical.

Photographers who have hiked for days through the Tarkine to get a shot, or filmmakers who have stood in the Amazon for days waiting for an animal to appear will look at this and chuckle.

Come to think of it, the Vietnamese whooped the French at Dien Bin Phu on the backs of bicycles too.

#19
M0les11:43 pm, 20 Apr 12

One of the strongest memories of my childhood is playing around all the cool equipment they had at Weston park. Next strongest memories of the park are are the fragrant wafts of ammonia (Only some of which were attributable to the kids) and avoiding the occasional broken beer bottle. I was too young/naiive to recognise the spoor of off-road circle-work (Might as well have been construction work for all I knew).

#20
I-filed9:30 am, 21 Apr 12

I suggest a system where photographers or anyone else with a demonstrated need to take equipment into the park could be licensed by Parks to rent a key for, say, a fortnight, and pay a small fee (and lock the gate after themselves). Naturally, if they tried to cheat & use the key just to get themselves in and then run around sans equipment, local vigilantes would be sure to note their rego number and report them!
Before anyone pooh-poohs this: similar system worked beautifully at Nil Desperandum until it burnt down.

#21
pink little birdie1:00 pm, 21 Apr 12

The ACT Government is pretty good at giving permissions for entry to locked parks and stuff but you have to ask… many early morning events do have parks and stuff opened especially. I’m sure If ask you will get a key for a little bit

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