Council votes on next step to fix problem creek
THE State and Federal Governments will be called on to fund a dredging project to deepen Round Hill Creek.
The Round Hill Creek Channel Options Report was presented to Gladstone Regional Council yesterday with two options to fix the dangerously shallow creek.
One option involved dredging parts of the waterway in one of three proposed locations.
The other option was to build a 50m wide and 1500m long training wall at an initial capital cost of $180million for the wall itself or $250m for the wall plus sand bypassing.
The council voted in favour of dredging, estimated to cost $450,000 per dredge.
Gladstone region mayor Matt Burnett said the next step would be to write to both the state and federal governments for funding.
"I'll be making sure they hear from me," Cr Burnett said.
"We (funded) the report, went in and did the background work and have a detailed document that says these are the options.
"If (the State and Federal Governments) want to support safety, tourism and concerns of the residents at Agnes Water/1770, this is how they can.
"Commercial operators can't get in and out and it's affected tourism and the economy of Agnes Water/1770 and even recreational fishers have issues getting in and out at times.
"For the Volunteer Marine Rescue to not get out at low tide is not an acceptable outcome... It would be a sad day if the VMR from Gladstone had to go out and rescue someone just outside the mouth of Round Hill Creek because (Round Hill) VMR couldn't get out."
The council set aside $100,000 for BMT WBM Pty Ltd to complete the report, but only $43,000 was spent.
Part-time Agnes Water resident, deputy mayor Chris Trevor, navigated the channel in a 6.5m tinnie on low tide last month to personally see what impact it had on boaties.
"This issue is destroying that community - it's based on tourism and tourism is suffering significantly because of an inability to come up with a solution to provide safe access to and from Round Hill Creek," Cr Trevor said.
"More importantly it's a major safety issue and the primary duty of all local, state and federal governments is to protect their citizens.
"There's a complete and absolute failure on all levels of government to deliver an outcome to this community. They are suffering and businesses are going broke."
Burnett MP Stephen Bennett, whose electorate includes Agnes Water, said it was time governments worked together to fix the issue.
"This is by far one of the most serious infrastructure projects of need that all levels of government have been struggling with for so long," he said.
"The council have always needed to do the work upfront to establish not only the best engineering solution but also to move forward and do the work."
Mr Bennett said he and Cr Burnett visited Brisbane about three years ago to lobby for the project.
"The Member for Gladstone (Glenn Butcher) has also supported the calls for this so I see this as above politics," he said.
"I think our advocacy should be supported by the Federal and State Government but clearly it appears to be a State Government responsibility.
"All state governments have known about this issue for decades and it's time we got on and fixed it."
Cr Desley O'Grady left the room before the discussion, declaring a material personal interest as her family conducts business out of the 1770 Marina.
Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd and VMR Round Hill were contacted for comment.