Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

December 20th 2007
Wetland to wreckland

Wetland wreckland near Cockle Bay After a month of waiting for an answer that hasn't come and with showers now starting to fill the semi-permanent wetland beside Townsville City Council's Picnic Bay Wastewater facility, a waste problem of another kind grows as at least one greasy and oily car wreck looks likely to foul the waters which also acts as a fish nursery which eventually drains into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The car was bogged and left for dead by people who it seems had been using the salty dry pan as an unofficial race track.

The wetland is a hotspot for bird watching and is mapped as Council Reserve. It also neighbours the a tract of bush land which TCC purchased some years ago for sewerage purposes; land which has now become the biggest unofficial dumping ground for old Island car wrecks and off-street trail-bike racing.

New access track pushed into wetland

The wetland however has been accessed since a track was pushed though from the West Point road some months ago.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger in Charge on Magnetic Island, Patrick Centurino, is concerned about the situation and although the wetland is not within the National Park he has been able to identify one car and contact its owner for its removal. Patrick has been quoted $660 for the proper removal of a wrecked vehicles from the site and told Magnetic Times, "There doesn't appear to be a strategy in place to deal with this issue. Nobody seems to know what to do and what is the right way to do it."

In light of the major changes to laws governing the use of the Picnic Bay tip it seems glaringly inappropriate that Council's own land and areas under TCC control have become a major and unregulated dumping area for car wrecks.

Magnetic Times sought comment from our elected Councillor and Deputy Mayor, Jenny Hill on November 19 but we are yet to receive an answer. As Magnetic Times is yet to receive a reply from Jenny Hill over any issue in several years this may not be surprising but we have reproduced our correspondence to Cr Hill for our readers' benefit.

Dear Jenny
I am seeking your comments regarding the appearance of car wrecks and the conversion of a semi-permanent wetland into an informal racing circuit, which I believe to be part of TCC's Reserve, adjacent to the Wastewater treatment plant at Cockle Bay?

In particular, what efforts has TCC made to protect this delicate environment from these intrusions?

Registration information is still visible on some of the vehicles so has TCC sought the help of police in identifying the owners and organising removal?

Is there a fine which is applicable for this behaviour on property which comes under the responsibility of TCC?

The growth in numbers of wrecked cars on the freehold land acquired by TCC on the other side of the wastewater plant - recently converted from residential to core industry - has continued for years, so can you indicate whether this is condoned by TCC and if so can anybody dump their car there? If not why doesn't TCC act to have the owners dispose of the vehicles?

I have attached a photo of one of the wrecks I found there on the weekend.
(the same photo which was taken in November is reproduced at top Ed)

Story & photos: George Hirst

To add your comment, see below

Wetland to wreckland
m trenerry
December 20th 2007
With the up coming election of the "super" council maybe now is when the islanders should club together and find out what the 2 major groups have in mind to deal with issue!!!
Jill Edwards-Davis
December 20th 2007
The Wetland may be a particular problem - but this year when searching for a bat reported as being hung up on barbed wire "at West Point", I actually went down all those little tracks off the West Point road. I must have come across at least thirty dumped cars, trucks and other major heaps of rubbish. Many had obviously been there for years, but others were quite new-looking.
So - what do we Islanders do when we have a dying motor vehicle? Drive it out to the West Point Road, take off anything useful, and leave the corpse to rot, it seems. Shame on us! But also shame on the Council, which does not give us information on how we can rid ourselves of our wrecks properly - and reasonably. I remember a clean-up some years back when owners of wrecks could have them removed for a manageable sum - could we not make this an annual event? AND when owners of wrecks can be traced, prosecute them!

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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