Gate makes it no walk in Baranduda park

Paul Cooksey is angry Parks Victoria has denied walkers access to a Leneva laneway. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN
Paul Cooksey is angry Parks Victoria has denied walkers access to a Leneva laneway. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

A PADLOCKED gate on a laneway to Baranduda’s regional park has angered a Leneva resident.

Paul Cooksey yesterday said Parks Victoria was wrong to close Burgess Lane.

He said he agreed with the seasonal closure of the park, — but not the lane.

“They’ve got a padlock at one end on the bitumen road and then there’s a padlock at the other end,” he said.

“I can understand them locking it at one end where the bush is, but the laneway’s almost a kilometre long.”

Mr Cooksey said many retired people who went walking in the area were upset.

“Elderly people wanting to walk on quiet tracks should not have to c1imb fences or gates to gain access to public land,” he said.

“People in their 60s trying to climb a large gate — it’s not a pretty sight.

“I went to go for a walk there last week with a neighbour — we often walk together — and we couldn’t get in there.”

Mr Cooksey also claimed the lane closure was “illegal”.

“This gazetted laneway is not a part of the regional park,” he said.

He believed the gate was first padlocked on the Queen’s Birthday weekend in June.

“That’s when Parks Victoria did its seasonal road closures,” he said.

“They have closed Baranduda Range for four or five years.”

Mr Cooksey said it was understandable Parks Victoria might want to deny access to people on trail bikes or using four-wheel-drives.

He suggested a turnstile or steps over the fence would resolve the problem.

He said the locked gate was also an issue for farmers who wanted to graze cattle along the laneway.

Keys the farmers had for access no longer worked because the locks had been changed.

“To put locks in on both ends of the laneway is wrong,” Mr Cooksey said.

“They just don’t want the public walking in there, and I don’t understand it.”

Parks Victoria ranger-in-charge at Beechworth Brian Pritchard said the access road was locked.

“The gate and fences have suffered significant vandalism in the past — due to their isolation — by people wishing to illegally gain access to the park during seasonal closures,” he said.

“To reduce this vandalism, police, Wodonga Council, the adjoining neighbour and Parks Victoria agreed to lock the gate at Burgess Lane while seasonal road closures are in place.”

Mr Pritchard said there was not much demand from walkers to use the area.

“Where high demand for walkers is identified, Parks Victoria provides suitable access to service that activity,” he said.