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Love locks to be cut from Aspen Island bridge

By Alexandra Craig 3 February 2015 66

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the National Capital Authority (NCA) has gotten into the spirit by announcing it’s taking bolt cutters to the love locks on Aspen Island’s John Douglas Gordon footbridge.

The NCA says it is taking preventative action now, removing the love locks before any serious damage occurs to the structure of the bridge. The railings aren’t engineered to hold additional weight.

I wrote last year that while not having attached a love lock to a bridge myself (I have a partner, but maybe I’ll do a lovelock with my cats’ names on it), I thought they were pretty cute and a nice idea, so I’m a bit disappointed the NCA is cutting them off. I was of the impression there wasn’t that many love locks on the bridge, so I went down to Aspen Island last night to check it out.

There were about 280 love locks across the whole bridge. This might sound like a lot, but when you actually see it for yourself, the bridge is in no immediate danger to collapsing under the weight of the padlocks.

The NCA said last year that there were no immediate plans to remove the locks, unless they began to interfere with the maintenance schedule, in which case they would be removed.

It doesn’t appear that the locks are interfering with anything at the moment, but rather that the NCA is trying to nip it in the bud early. I understand the need for public safety and all that jazz, but the love locks aren’t even close to being a problem yet. It just seems very party pooper of the NCA to be cutting them off.

Executive Director of the NCA, Helen Badger, said, “Instead of couples attaching pad locks to the Aspen Island footbridge we encourage them to celebrate their relationship by enjoying National Carillon recitals on Aspen Island.”

I understand that they feel the need to provide an alternative for people but attending a Carillon recital probably isn’t really on the mark with the interests of people that want to leave a love lock.

Evelyn Moon and her husband left a love lock on the bridge in April 2014 after they were married on Aspen Island. Evelyn said that her first reaction to hearing her lovelock would be cut off was one of sadness.

“It’s a bridge of love and happiness, so many fond moments and memories for people at one of the best times in their lives,” she said.

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A Facebook post exploded last night with many people expressing annoyance and sadness at their love locks being removed from the bridge, with some pledging to return to the bridge this week to retrieve their lock. Others are unable to take their lock back after the key was thrown into Lake Burley Griffin.

Josie Ponticello and her husband (pictured above) left a lock on the bridge a year ago when they were married, but live four hours away from Canberra and can’t retrieve their lock in time.

The love locks will be removed from 6 February 2015, and an ongoing program will be put in place to remove any lovelocks that may appear in the future.

Update: The National Capital Authority says that if couples have broken from tradition and retained the key, they have until Friday 6 February to remove the locks themselves. On Friday, cutting the padlocks off structures on National Land will result in “irreparable damage to the padlocks”.


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66 Responses to
Love locks to be cut from Aspen Island bridge
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astrojax 7:37 am 03 Jun 15

…and just to prove the nca right, paris stops the locks on its famed pont des arts:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2015/jun/02/paris-padlocks-lovepont-des-arts-bridge-removed-in-pictures

canberra needs that sculpture, people…

astrojax 11:59 am 16 Feb 15

Solidarity said :

astrojax said :

maybe artsact could commission a sculpture somewhere, constructed of a metal meshing material of some sort, designed for those who think putting padlocks in public places to be a good thing to go and put padlocks in a public place… maybe replicate this and have one in each town centre / precinct..?

Oh wow…

Any scuptures around?

NCA should commission a new public artwork, an artwork of a giant lock… a lock made out of love locks that have been removed by the NCA!

Everybody wins!

i don’t know of any, hence the suggestion… anyone with arts act connections on the riot??

Solidarity 10:46 am 16 Feb 15

astrojax said :

maybe artsact could commission a sculpture somewhere, constructed of a metal meshing material of some sort, designed for those who think putting padlocks in public places to be a good thing to go and put padlocks in a public place… maybe replicate this and have one in each town centre / precinct..?

Oh wow…

Any scuptures around?

NCA should commission a new public artwork, an artwork of a giant lock… a lock made out of love locks that have been removed by the NCA!

Everybody wins!

Lazy I 8:40 am 16 Feb 15

Postalgeek said :

Geocaching your lovelock would make it a more interesting and adventurous thing to discover.

If you’re geocaching I’d expect your lock to have only one set of initials on it.

Maya123 8:09 pm 15 Feb 15

Postalgeek said :

Geocaching your lovelock would make it a far more interesting and adventurous thing to discover.

There are pretend locks with small compartments. The thought did cross my mind.

Postalgeek 7:59 pm 15 Feb 15

Geocaching your lovelock would make it a more interesting and adventurous thing to discover.

astrojax 7:50 am 14 Feb 15

maybe artsact could commission a sculpture somewhere, constructed of a metal meshing material of some sort, designed for those who think putting padlocks in public places to be a good thing to go and put padlocks in a public place… maybe replicate this and have one in each town centre / precinct..?

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:31 pm 13 Feb 15

Solidarity said :

I noticed some lame locks on the railing next to the pedestrian crossing in Manuka outside My Cafe, then some more on a chain fence up Red Hill. They’re popping up everywhere. I wonder if I could sell love locks out of a van at various locations this weekend – All i’d need is a van with a bench in the back, I already have a dremel which can engrave.

That’s actually quite a clever idea. You should do it.

Solidarity 11:46 am 13 Feb 15

I noticed some lame locks on the railing next to the pedestrian crossing in Manuka outside My Cafe, then some more on a chain fence up Red Hill. They’re popping up everywhere. I wonder if I could sell love locks out of a van at various locations this weekend – All i’d need is a van with a bench in the back, I already have a dremel which can engrave.

Milly Withers 9:04 am 13 Feb 15

In other love lock news, the newly-formed Lyneham Community Association has started hanging padlocks engraves with “We Love Lyneham” onto public areas in the suburb that are considered precious and valuable.

If the locks on Aspen Island are anything to go by, I wonder how long these ones will last?

dundle 5:18 pm 08 Feb 15

Good idea, I think it is a silly habit and littering

rigseismic67 12:15 pm 08 Feb 15

I’m happy, that ex wife of mine thought the love locks were a great idea for our wedding. Now I can finally rid myself of this hideous memory.

rubaiyat 3:12 pm 07 Feb 15

I can’t see the problem.

I find padlocking all my partners to public structures more conducive to maintaining some permanence to the relationship.

switch 12:36 pm 07 Feb 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Yes. Yes I do. Should we start with the doors to the legislative assembly…?

Before or after the members come out?

Shad0w 10:26 pm 06 Feb 15

Whether you agree with the originality of the idea or not is one thing. I personally think its a bit tacky, but clearly some people think its a nice idea. I agree with another commenter – plant a tree (I guess digging a hole and hosing a sapling on your wedding day doesn’t make for a Facebook worthy photo op – but that makes me sound really judgy … my apologies).

However, the matter of whether the NCA is doing the right or wrong thing is another. I think the overwhelming feeling on RA is that they are doing what we’d expect them to do. OP – you might see it as being a ‘party pooper’ move, but they’re simply managing something that is their responsibility to manage.

I can see what the NCA is doing, as the OP stated, nipping the activity in the bud – essentially they’re saying ‘don’t put your locks here, cos we’ll chop them off and you won’t get them back’. People will soon give the practice up. Its 280 now, spread across the bridge its not a biggie. In 5 years, however, it will possibly be thousands – in the OPs words, she’d put her cat’s name on it (not her partner’s), so you can imagine locks being left for all manner of reasons … remembering pets, friendship, marriages, mates/family members that have passed, etc. The thought would be ‘well its not like you can’t … I mean, the NCA obviously don’t have an issue with it or they’d have removed them by now’. Therefore, cut them off before the whole thing becomes a ‘thing’ and and the issue is more tiresome, controversial and expensive to manage.

What yanks my chain is the OP talking about ‘rights’, and the NCA as some how lazy or inconsiderate because they can’t be ‘bothered’ to cater to the padlock people, etc. As others have stated, if you padlock something such as a bike to a structure that is not designed for that purpose in a public place, and then abandon it … do you have a ‘right’ to expect that it remain there and not ever be removed? Or indeed, that paid workers – after they’ve already put other work aside in order to come and remove property that ppl have left someplace – should then further run a pick-up service for ppl to come and collect said property? These people aren’t running a volunteer service … they have other work to do and we pay for that work to get done? Is that what is meant by ‘can’t be bothered’? I really can’t see why they should be bothered.

Rights. Pfffft. There are many other ‘rights’ we should ensure are met for all in this community, before we complain about people being denied their ‘right’ to collect their lovelocks. Not that long ago, a lovely time spent with family and friends, a pretty dress, champagne, a good meal and some photographs to remember the day was enough to celebrate two people marrying. Truly, if their lock being cutoff a bridge is what is wrenching their hearts in two, they really should be counting their blessings … I’d say life is pretty good. Couples should focus their energy on the marriage and one another, and not the symbols they’ve attached to public structures.

End rant.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 4:32 pm 06 Feb 15

Evilomlap said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

chris820 said :

milkman said :

Maybe we need to take the concept further and start putting locks in more unusual places.

I noticed a couple attached to the railings out at Gibraltar Falls. I’m not a fan.

With a bit of thinking one could create all manner of mischief locking things that were not meant to stay locked.

Hot damn I like the way you think man! What you up to this weekend? Fancy a locking spree?

Yes. Yes I do. Should we start with the doors to the legislative assembly…?

Evilomlap 2:41 pm 06 Feb 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

chris820 said :

milkman said :

Maybe we need to take the concept further and start putting locks in more unusual places.

I noticed a couple attached to the railings out at Gibraltar Falls. I’m not a fan.

With a bit of thinking one could create all manner of mischief locking things that were not meant to stay locked.

Hot damn I like the way you think man! What you up to this weekend? Fancy a locking spree?

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 10:44 am 06 Feb 15

chris820 said :

milkman said :

Maybe we need to take the concept further and start putting locks in more unusual places.

I noticed a couple attached to the railings out at Gibraltar Falls. I’m not a fan.

With a bit of thinking one could create all manner of mischief locking things that were not meant to stay locked.

gooterz 12:08 am 06 Feb 15

Graffiti artists are lining up to get their paint back.

How much does it cost to get someone out there to cut them all off?

Gov should just sell random boxes of the broken padlocks on ebay/Allbids!

That way those who want their padlock back can show how much they do.

chris820 11:37 pm 05 Feb 15

milkman said :

Maybe we need to take the concept further and start putting locks in more unusual places.

I noticed a couple attached to the railings out at Gibraltar Falls. I’m not a fan.

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