28 December 2021

2021 Year in Review: The Canberra news stories that had you clicking

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In a year dominated by COVID-19, it was great to see other Canberra news still making headlines.

From stories of survival, community spirit, growth and development, and a few creepy-crawlies, there was plenty to read about in a city that kept thriving despite lockdowns.

Here’s a selection of the stories that you clicked on the most in 2021.

10. LEGO fans line up round the block for opening of new Canberra store

LEGO fans line up outside the new Canberra Centre store

LEGO fans lined up to get inside the new Canberra Centre store. Photo: Ben Calvert Photography.

It was a blockbuster opening for Canberra’s first official LEGO store.

Crowds waited up to two hours round the block to be the first inside the certified LEGO store.

Several hundred fans waited patiently in a line reportedly up to a kilometre long that wound out of the centre and along Bunda Street.

9. Government pays out $37,000 in pothole claims but Taylah’s fight goes on


Taylah Kolaric’s FG Falcon was damaged by cold mix: “I’d barely had it for four months.” Photo: Supplied.

Potholes are always a big issue in Canberra and even more so with all the rain this year.

Nearly 40 Canberrans received payouts for damage to their cars from potholes, but Higgins woman Taylah Kolaric wasn’t one of them.

She battled to make a claim for over a year after driving through cold mix washed out of a stretch of potholes on Belconnen Way in Hawker, peppering the paint job on her white FG Falcon.

8. After 65 years, it’s time to say goodbye to the old Batemans Bay Bridge

Old Batemans Bay Bridge

The old Batemans Bay Bridge over Clyde River was opened in 1956. Photo: File.

It was a sad farewell as the iconic Batemans Bay bridge over Clyde River was taken down this year.

The move ended years of frustration for boaters and motorists, but changed the face of the seaside town forever.

For the past 65 years, the sight of the vertical lift truss bridge served as a welcome for residents and visitors, becoming synonymous with the town itself.

7. The life of Gary: snake tracking study reveals the habits of eastern browns in Canberra

Snake researcher Gavin Smith with telemetry system in bush.

Snake researcher Gavin Smith at the burrow of an eastern brown snake named Gary. Photo: Michael Weaver.

Gary, a five or six-year-old male eastern brown snake, slithered his way into our hearts in 2021.

The snake is one of five eastern browns caught during the summer, tagged and released as part of the ACT Snake Tracking Project into how the cryptic creatures use Canberra’s suburban environment.

“My five-year-old daughter named him Gary because she thought it would be a great name for a snake,” says Gavin Smith, a certified snake catcher, researcher and associate professor at the Australian National University.

6. Multi-million-dollar market redevelopment will bring a flavour of Barcelona to Belconnen

Render of new Capital Food Market

Indoor and outdoor dining were set to be a highlight of the new Capital Food Market. Image: Supplied.

Ambitious plans were launched to see Belconnen become home to a fresh food market that will be the envy of other Australian cities.

The multi-million-dollar redevelopment of the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, aims to turn the suburban shopping hub into an artisan food and entertainment precinct that will be the envy of Australia.

The project will transform the 45-year-old market into a 4300 square metre food mecca featuring indoor and outdoor dining, food demonstration areas, restaurants, bars and agricultural produce from some of the region’s best farmers and fishers.

5. ‘Bizarre’ millipede plague wreaks havoc in NSW and ACT homes

Portuguese millipede.

Portuguese millipedes were wreaking havoc in Canberra and parts of NSW. Photo: Pixabay.

Did you notice any 100-legged intruders in your house this year? If so, you’re not alone.

Hundreds of people shared their close encounters with a plague of millipedes that invaded homes across Canberra and the NSW South Coast, Southern Tablelands and Central West.

One resident in Yass, near Canberra, said her family was switching off their lights at night to avoid the millipedes coming inside.

4. Been pinged on Northbourne Avenue? Here’s what you can do about it

Speed camera and 40km/h sign on Northbourne Avenue

New speed cameras and a 40km/h zone were controversial new additions to Northbourne Avenue. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Thousands of Canberrans were caught lead-footed in Northbourne Avenue and Barry Drive’s new 40 km/h zone.

The 40 km/h zone has quickly become a real pain point for motorists – as the 24,050 infringement notices issued from 5 July to 3 August attest.

It raked in $1.6 million and caught more than 6000 drivers per week, with many seeking ways to lessen the immediacy of the financial penalty, or alleviate it completely.

3. “It is not just his fault”: Dickson cafe owner calls for multicultural education after racist abuse

Vincent Wong

The owner of the Folks Gallery in Dickson, Vincent Chen, called for more education on multiculturalism after a racist incident at his cafe. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

When a group of Canberra teenagers were filmed racially harassing Dickson cafe staff, the owner used the incident to promote education, not hatred.

The video taken by staff at Folks Gallery in Dickson showed a boy racially abuse staff before spitting on the cafe’s outdoor table.

Cafe owner Vincent Chen said he didn’t want to visit hate on the children involved but rather wanted to use the incident to educate the community about racism.

2. Teenage girl airlifted to Sydney after freak accident at Kambah Adventure Playground ‘very lucky to be alive’

Janelle Cirina and Tahlia Floyer

Janelle Cirina and 14-year-old daughter Tahlia Floyer. Photo: Janelle Cirina.

A freak accident at Kambah Adventure Playground in September saw a 14-year-old girl airlifted to Westmead Hospital in Sydney with a broken spine.

Tahlia Floyer reached the end of the flying fox at the Kambah Adventure Playground with such force she flipped into the air and landed on her head and neck, breaking three vertebrae.

The incident prompted her mother to call for a risk assessment of the popular flying fox equipment.

1. ‘I don’t want anyone to die because of me’: COVID-19 ‘patient zero’ speaks out

Cedric Nyamsi

Cedric Nyamsi was laid up in bed and said he hadn’t left the ACT in more than three months. Photo: Supplied.

The man believed to have sparked Canberra’s current COVID-19 lockdown spoke from his sickbed to dispel rumours that he brought the infection on himself by acting illegally.

Cedric Nyamsi, 27, was knocked flat by the virus.

He told Region Media he’s as mystified as anyone about how he contracted it.

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