Vehicles load on the Moggill Ferry from the Moggill side of the Brisbane River.
Vehicles load on the Moggill Ferry from the Moggill side of the Brisbane River.

Residents happy being cut off by ‘moat’

TIME appears to be against the residents of a 'rural' suburb who strongly oppose a bridge to replace the 140-year-old ferry crossing of the Brisbane River.

Moggill, some 25km southwest of the CBD, becomes a world of its own after dark when the cable ferry that links it with the Ipswich suburb of Riverview ceases running around 6pm.

Once access is cut, the Brisbane River acts as a moat on one side, preventing travellers from Ipswich passing through the countryside passage along tree-lined Moggill Road.

 

Vehicles queue for the Moggill ferry.
Vehicles queue for the Moggill ferry.

 

The lack of a permanent crossing has even been the subject of a recent change.org petition from frustrated residents in neighbouring Bellbowrie.

It's about a 20km journey to the nearest crossover at Walter Taylor Bridge at Indooroopilly, which just also happens to be where the nearest accessible railway station is located.

The other option to circumnavigate the river is along Mt Crosby Road, known as passing through "the camel humps", to get to Ipswich.

 

An aerial view shows part of Moggill along the Brisbane River.
An aerial view shows part of Moggill along the Brisbane River.

 

Former Ipswich councillor Paul Tully said a river crossover was required but one would never be built if it depended being approved by Moggill residents.

"The people of Moggill are steadfast against any bridge across the river to their suburb," said Mr Tully.

He said one proposed route was a western ring-road that extended from the southeastern pocket of Moggill in the vicinity of the Wolston Park and Gailes golf courses.

"As a northerly extension of the Logan Motorway that would link Moggill with the Gold Coast and Logan and be part of a western ring road that linked with The Gap," Mr Tully said.

"It would place the people of Moggill within five minutes of the railway at Gailes and within 45 minutes to the Gold Coast."

 

Vehicles load on the Moggill ferry from the Moggill side of the Brisbane River.
Vehicles load on the Moggill ferry from the Moggill side of the Brisbane River.

 

Local Brisbane City Councillor Kate Richards said it was inevitable that Moggill would one day be permanently connected to the south side of the Brisbane River, but when, where and how was the question.

She said it may even be a tunnel and it was not just a matter of convenience.

A tunnel or bridge would provide emergency services with better access to the suburb tucked away in a horseshoe of the Brisbane River area, not only at night, but in the event of flooding.

"My understanding is there is no vision for change in that area," Cr Richards said.

"In my view, particularly with the flood that we had in 2011 which highlighted that area, it got very isolated … and secondary, the only way in (at night) is Mt Crosby Road and Moggill Road and that's very limiting," Cr Richards said.

 

 

Nothing but country atmosphere along Moggill Road.
Nothing but country atmosphere along Moggill Road.

"Infrastructure is needed. The reality is we do need a bridge, we need something … I respect and appreciate country lifestyle, but we whatever we do out here will be a bag of options because of the way the land sits."

Just over a decade ago, the former Department of Main Roads investigated the possibility of a bridge to replace the Moggill Ferry, according to a Transport and Main Roads spokesperson.

It was deemed not to be a viable option because of factors such as demand, flood immunity and significant construction costs.

"Transport and Main Roads' long-term plan for the western metropolitan area includes the Moggill Pocket Arterial Road, which would provide a new bridge over the Brisbane River to the north of the Moggill Ferry site, an alternate route to Colleges Crossing, and improved traffic flow through Moggill and western Brisbane," the spokesperson said.

"Any future funding of the Moggill Pocket Arterial Road is subject to competing statewide priorities.

 

Riverside Equestrian manager Harriet Ehlers says the dressager riding school typifies the area.
Riverside Equestrian manager Harriet Ehlers says the dressager riding school typifies the area.

 

It may take some convincing to get the locals to embrace any type of permanent crossing, be it a bridge or a tunnel, according to LJH Hooker real estate agent David Riley who is also a resident of Moggill.

He said there had been a lot of pushback against a bridge to replace the ferry which costs $1.90 one-way per passenger car while pedestrians were free.

"There is always talk of a bridge, but opinions are divided on whether it would be good or bad for the area," Mr Riley said.

"Those for it say it gives you access across the river to places like Jindalee … and on the other side they say it's going to create more traffic and that is their major concern."

He said those, like himself, that chose Moggill knew it was isolated at night and that was what lured him to the area.

A new Council sports complex at Moggill.
A new Council sports complex at Moggill.


"One of its attractions is that it does not have through traffic at night," Mr Riley said.

"It's got great proximity to schools and it's a quiet suburb and taking the ferry is a nice time-out."

Even though it has access issues, the tooth-shaped suburb certainly has a lot of appeal.

Moggill's resident's numbers have more than doubled over a decade, from 2145 in 2006 to 4641 in 2016, according to the ABS Census.

The population increase came on the back of several estates opening up and that lifted the number of dwellings from 756 to 1610 during the same period.

The growing population may have helped stabilise the student numbers at Moggill State School after its enrolment dipped when Year Seven students were taken in by high schools in 2015.

Picnic shelter and BBQ facilities at the new Moggill District Sports Park.
Picnic shelter and BBQ facilities at the new Moggill District Sports Park.


Cr Richards said the school had a "great reputation" and had about 650 students.

"It is a growing area because there are a lot more families coming into that area now," she said.

"When the Grade Sevens went to high school they lost 200 kids and they regained those in about 18 months."

The school is located on Moggill Road and about two kilometres north of the new Moggill District Sports Park which will be formally opened in early 2019.

The park contains tennis, basketball and netball courts, a playground, picnic shelters, barbecue facilities and two dedicated AFL grounds.

Moggill State School on Moggill Road has some 650 students.
Moggill State School on Moggill Road has some 650 students.


Right next door to the sports grounds is the Riverside Equestrian Centre which covers 21 hectares and has been in operation for three decades.

The riding school and it surrounds typifies the country life Moggill has to offer, said manager Harriet Ehlers.

"It's a real community atmosphere and the suburb is the end of the road, I guess, and it's very quiet" she said.

She said the ferry crossing can be problematic for their customers who have to use it access the dressage riding school.

"For people that live on the other side, they would like a bridge," she said.

"Some of our customers who do live on that side come late because they have had to wait for the ferry.

Cr Richards if, and when, the access across the river is built, she hopes it never interferes with the lifestyle the area has become known for.

"Even though we are close to the city we have a great country lifestyle. Some people say they need a sea change, this is their country change," she said.



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