ALLIANCE TO SAVE HINCHINBROOK INC MEDIA RELEASE
for release FRIDAY 03 June 2005
The Alliance to Save Hinchinbrook Inc (ASH) is dismayed that the Queensland
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given approval to Cardwell Shire
Council to construct two long "training" walls at Oyster Point
across part of the World Heritage listed Hinchinbrook Channel.
If built, the proposed walls would extend potentially hundreds of
metres into the Channel, towards Hinchinbrook Island. There are
indications in the development site map for the proposed length of the
walls to be increased, once approved.
Oyster Point is where the dredged access channel for "Port
Hinchinbrook" marina, Stage I residential/industrial canal estate
the proposed Stage II residential canal estate enters the Hinchinbrook
The walls would be an ugly intrusion into the dramatically scenic area
of Hinchinbrook Island and Channel, renowned internationally for its
beauty, grandeur, and rich wildife.
The choice of Oyster Point for the "Port Hinchinbrook" canal/marina
system flew in the face of State Harbours and Marine Department
advices of 1977 and 1980.
The Cardwell Shire Council and the developer are now faced with the
ongoing costs of site deficits against which they were twice warned 25
Both of the Harbours and Marine Reports cited above concluded that
Oyster Point was unsuitable as a boat harbour simply because of
deficits inherent its location: being in a catchment, with flooding
and siltation risks, and lacking naturally deep water, it would
require costly dredging and spoil disposal.
Despite the assurances of the Queensland EPA that training walls are
good idea, ASH is not convinced that there would be no adverse
consequences contingent on blocking off part of the Hinchinbrook
Channel in this way.
Margaret Moorhouse (spokesperson for ASH) said "Unless there is
from the EPA beyond what is in the Environment Minister's recent Media
Release, it seems that the EPA has looked at the breakwater walls
purely as an exercise in engineering, the only outcome considered
being a reduction in rate of dredge spoil accumulation and its
"It is astonishing that the impact on the World Heritage integrity
values of the Hinchinbrook Channel and Island have not even been
mentioned in the recent Queensland Environment Minister's Media
release. Were they not considered by the EPA?" asked Ms Moorhouse
was it mentioned that the impacts of the proposal have yet to be
considered by the Commonwealth Government, under the Environment
Protection, Biodiversity and Conservation (EPBC) Act".
"This part of the Hinchinbrook waterways, from many kilometres south
of Oyster Point on the mainland to the far side of Missionary Bay on
Hinchinbrook Island, forms the heartland of the Hinchinbrook dugong
habitat. Here the dugongs have historically found relative safety due
to the lack of boating traffic. Now however the construction of
boating facilities has attracted hundreds more power vessels to enter
the Hinchinbroook Channel through the dredged access channel to the
Port Hinchinbrook facilities" Ms Moorhouse said.
"To invite even more power boats into the area by building even
boating infrastructure - such as training walls and canal moorings -
would be to invite disaster to this species, which is literally on the
brink of extinction world wide" said Ms Moorhouse.
"Here in the Hinchinbrook habitat we have just one real chance of
helping this North Queensland dugong population survive to be a world
wonder. That chance is now: do not increase the risks of boat strike
and seagrass damage by building more boat-attracting infrastructure in
mobile 0427 724 052
According to an Infrastructure Agreement between Cardwell Shire
Council and Keith Williams (as sole director of Cardwell Properties
Pty Ltd), the Commonwealth Government did not give consent to
construction of breakwater walls proposed to be built as part of the
original "Port Hinchinbrook" Application. This is the stated
for the Council, not the original developer, being the present
Applicant for the training walls proposal.
The walls are desired by the developer and the Council because they
are claimed to reduce the amount of silt that will accumulate in the
access channel, dredging being a costly and ongoing expense. The walls
are claimed only to slow down the rate of silting, not prevent it from
happening. Regardless of whether or not the walls are built, silt and
dredged spoil will still accumulate and be costly to remove. Marine
soils, once exposed to air, can generate sulphuric acid, just as
coastal acid sulphate soils may do.
Other Queensland boat harbours are facing similar environmental and
economic costs associated with dredging, even those with greater
natural depth. Now that the adverse environmental impacts of dredge
spoil are better understood, and economic costs incurred to dispose of
it are higher, some other marinas have paused their usual dredging
regime. Boat operators are once again learning to use time and tide
when entering and exiting shallow boat harbours.
(end media release) -
Also see Qld Environment Minister's Media
Release relating to breakwater approvals.
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