A $1 rubber duck has put a headache among townsfolk witnessing a $1.9 million road upgrade in their Snowy Mountains village.
The great little duck race under the Snowy Mountains Highway is the centrepiece of Adaminaby’s popular long-running Easter Fair. (Adaminaby is the home of the Big Trout – and the little ducks.)
The duck race is a 30-year-old tradition that has scores of people strangely staring at an outlet pipe when hundreds of little rubber ducks are washed down the storm water drain from Adaminaby’s shopping centre.
Each duck has a number on it and the first duck across the finishing line gets a winner’s prize, this year it’s $700 – nothing to be quacked at ! There are other minor cash prizes for placegetters. Often it is agony watching a duck leading, approaching the race finishing line only to see it snagged on a tiny weed or rock. But it all has a noble purpose. The annual duck race raises thousands of dollars each year for Adaminaby’s community groups..
But no one told the Roads and Maritime Services who are building the 1.6km upgrade through Adaminaby. It’s a great thing for the town to have a better, wider road – but the duck race wasn’t taken into account.
With new drainage in place, no one knows if the ducks will make it through a new stormwater trap built on the northern side of the highway. There is now a large hole where the pipe is divided in half, and some feel with the rush of water the floating ducks will just bubble up in the trap and not go down the rest of the pipe then under the highway and to the finishing line.
Also the end of the drain is now almost right up against a fence and so organisers say they will have to establish a new finishing line, probably in the museum grounds.
Easter fair committee chair Tim Corkill said the fair committee were not consulted on the drainage changes. He also said the RMS had not considered reducing the speed limit on the road through town from 80km/h to 60m/h, as locals wanted.
“No matter what happens we will make sure there will be the running of the ducks at Easter,” Mr Corkill said.
The only other headache is that the concrete culvert on the southern side of the highway might be being built when the Easter race is on. The roadworks have already been going for four months.
Nevertheless Adaminaby vows the ducks will race on !