Here they are, the most clicked on stories of last year across all categories: two opinion pieces about light rail, two articles about favourite Canberra snacks, two news stories about tragedies (the killing of 8-year-old Bradyn Dillon and the Dreamworld disaster), another about Singapore Airlines coming to Canberra, a look at the Government’s numberplate slogans challenge, a column about the demise (temporary we hope) of mpowerdome and a video-complemented post in which we took you inside a mobile speed van.
We’re so curious now to see what 2017 brings. Like to take a stab at likely topics in our top ten this time next year? We’d be willing to bet that articles about the construction of stage one of light rail or the route of stage two will feature given the project is arguably the biggest thing to happen in our city since Lake Burley Griffin was born. What else can we expect, do you think?
10. Canberrans take up #CBRnumberplates challenge on Twitter
This September 7 story reporting on a social media whirl of activity in response to the ACT Government’s call for ideas for a new numberplate slogan inspired many of you to join the challenge. Our favourite is still “APS4 in the streets, EL1 in the sheets” but we do not anticipate that one making the cut. We can’t wait to see which suggestions from the public do make the list to be published early in the new year so that we can vote for our preferred slogans.
9. Singapore Airlines to fly into Canberra: report
It’s hard to believe it’s almost a year since we first learnt on January 12 that Singapore Airlines would become the first carrier to offer year round direct international flights to and from Canberra Airport. Year of lobbying by Chief Minister and longtime Tourism Minister Andrew Barr and Airport chief Stephen Byron had paid off at last, and the fitout of the waiting international terminal began immediately, with work continuing till flights commenced in late September. Since then, Qatar Airways has announced it will operate a service to and from Doha from Canberra Airport starting next financial year. Have you flown Singapore Airlines to Wellington or Singapore? Sure beats catching the bus or driving to Sydney Airport before heading OS.
7. How are we paying for light rail in Canberra?
Having read this opinion piece by pro-light rail lobbyist Damien Haas via the Light Rail for Canberra Facebook group, we approached him to ask whether we could share it with our readers by publishing it on the RiotACT. Damien agreed, so on October 8, we unleashed his positive perspective on the potential of light rail to RiotACT readers. The resulting debate in the comments was among the most fiery of the year. Damien has since announced that the light rail-focused lobby group he represents will be rebranding itself as community-based public transport advocacy group, ‘Public Transport Association of Canberra’ or ‘PTCBR’. We look forward to working with PTCBR to foster debate on public transport matters through the RiotACT. To get us started, please let us know in the comments below what you think the biggest public transport issues will be in 2017.
6. Dreamworld tragedy is ours as three confirmed Canberrans
It seemed everyone knew someone who was friends with one or more of the three Canberrans who were killed in the horrific “Thunder River Rapids” accident at Dreamworld on October 25. Public servants Kate Goodchild, 32, her brother Luke Dorsett, 35, and his partner Roozbeh Araghi, 38, were killed alongside 42-year-old Sydney resident Cindy Low when the ride malfunctioned. Kate left behind a partner and two daughters, Ebony, 12, and Evie, who was just 8 months old. If you’d like to help Kate’s partner and children, you can join us in making a donation to the mycause.com.au campaign set up to raise funds for them by family friend Sandra Brookfield. When we visited in late December, the campaign had raised more than $65,000 towards its $100,000 goal.
5. Jacka father charged with murder of 8yo son
On February 16, we learnt of the death of 8-year-old Jacka boy Bradyn Dillon from injuries allegedly sustained in the family home. The boy’s 37-year-old father, Graham Dillon, was later charged with Bradyn’s murder. He has pleaded not guilty and will stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court. If you haven’t watched Behind Closed Doors, the ABC News special about Bradyn’s death and that of another young Canberran, Jakob Oakey, we recommend you brace yourselves and do so.
4. A look inside an ACT mobile speed camera van
Having always been curious about what went on inside Canberra’s mobile speed vans, we leapt at the chance on July 25 to climb into one with our camera and to share what we found there on the RiotACT. The moral of the story was that these vans are geared to catch you if you speed, and likely to pop up particularly in school zones all over Canberra.
3. Tuggeranong the loser as mpowerdome remains closed
Robert Issell reminded us on November 19 that Fadden multi-purpose indoor sports centre mpowerdome had been closed for months and looked at the impact of the closure on sporting, school and community groups in Canberra’s south as well as pondering why it remained closed and what could be done to ensure it reopens. Having attended and held birthday parties at mpowerdome, we’re crossing our fingers it’s back in 2017 so that more Canberra kids (and grownups) can get active across many sports, rain, hail or shine. Do you know anything about why mpowerdome remains closed? Have an idea about how to get it back up and running? Let us know in the comments.
2. Calls for ban on Dutch pancakes, chips on sticks at Multicultural Festival
There was a reason this February 15 story resonated with you all, and I would argue it’s because the Canberra man who set up the petition to see Dutch pancakes and chips on sticks banned from the Multicultural Festival was onto something. The two food stalls in question seem pop up at every major outdoor even in the ACT … even the Night Noodle Markets. The Multicultural Festival provides an opportunity for Canberrans to try foods from other cultures, introducing them to cuisine from all over the world. Given there is only so much street food one person can eat, those who are queuing for Dutch pancakes and chips on sticks are missing out on an opportunity to try something they won’t find in Canberra at any other time. We don’t really think the stalls should be banned, but we do encourage Rioters to broaden their horizons at this year’s Multicultural Festival.
1. The best arguments for light rail just aren’t very good
Kim Huynh joined the RiotACT early in the year as a culture columnist, writing about quirky stuff like indoor playgrounds, Canberra’s taverns, queuing and karaoke. We were just as surprised as you were to discover the ANU academic was running a high profile campaign as an independent for the seat of Ginninderra at the ACT Legislative Assembly election. We were also taken aback when it transpired that he’d changed his initial position and was now anti-light rail, as outlined in this controversial, site-leading September 8 post. What made him change his mind? Extensive research. We’re looking forward to reading Kim’s analysis in 2017 of what can be done to maximise the benefits for Canberrans of the light rail project given construction is now well underway. In fact, we’re looking forward to reading pretty much anything Kim turns his mind to. Go, Kimbo!
This is the last in our top ten series. We hope you’ve enjoyed remembering the year that was on the RiotACT and looking forward to watching it all unfold here in 2017 as much as we are. In case you missed them, here are the earlier top tens:
Top ten RiotACT tweets of 2016
Top ten RiotACT Facebook posts of 2016
Top ten news articles on the RiotACT in 2016
Top ten most commented on articles on the RiotACT in 2016
Top ten reader-contributed posts on the RiotACT in 2016
Top ten RiotACT Instagram posts of 2016
Top ten opinion posts on the RiotACT in 2016
Top ten Ask RiotACT posts of 2016
Top ten food and wine posts on the RiotACT in 2016
Top ten feature articles on the RiotACT in 2016