A new channel will be dredged to duplicate the current channel into Gladstone Harbour.
A new channel will be dredged to duplicate the current channel into Gladstone Harbour. Christopher Chan

Fish health still an issue

NOT everyone is jumping for joy over the government's plans for a new shipping channel in Gladstone Harbour.

Gladstone Conservation Council president Jan Arens yesterday said he was doing his research on what the new channel would involve.

But his first reaction was authorities still didn't know what caused last year's fish disease outbreak, so it was too early to know if another major dredging project would have detrimental impacts on the harbour.

Mr Arens said he was not surprised by the announcement but thought the timing might have been different.

"It doesn't feel like they have thought about the timing," he said.

"We haven't laid to rest why we had the (fish health) issues last year."

He said there was no clear data on the impact dredging had on the ecology of Gladstone Harbour.

Mr Arens said there were contradictions coming from the State Government.

On one hand, the Environment Minister Andrew Powell has said several times he wants improvements to water quality in Gladstone. On the other hand, the government is pushing the line that water quality is not being affected by the dredging project and another major project should be pursued.

 

New channel

  • The new channel will be dredged to a depth of 16.1m
  • It will involve dredging of 10-12 million cubic metres of material
  • The new channel will allow ships to arrive and exit the harbour at the same time. It is basically the difference between a single lane road, and a double lane highway
  • GPC wants to start the project around 2015-17


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