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June 6th 2011
Gustav channel dredging to begin

Equipment is being assembled beside the Gustav creek channel at Nelly Bay Locals can expect to see more trucks on the road between Nelly Bay Harbour and Picnic Bay as work to deepen the Gustav Creek channel area of the Nelly Bay Harbour will begin in the next few weeks.

The work is part of Townsville City Council’s maintenance schedule and will involve the dredging, drying and removal of about 7000 cubic metres of sand and silt between the channel and the breakwater bridge.

All material removed will be inspected before being trucked to the Picnic Bay landfill site.

Magnetic Island Councillor Trevor Roberts said residents should expect more trucks on the road between the creek and the Picnic Bay landfill during the work that may run until September.

Cr Roberts told Magnetic Times, "The overall cost will be approximately $900,000 and the total amount will be met by the Nelly Bay Harbour Special rate fund".

The council has sought all relevant environmental permits and permission from both DERM and GBRMPA, he said.

“Our council officers overseeing this project have ensured they consult with all the necessary authorities to minimise environmental impact and disruption to residents,” Cr Roberts said. “The work will be closely monitored to ensure it remains within strict set guidelines including water quality and turbidity limits.”

“This work is well overdue and is essential to maintain adequate depth in the harbour.”

Council advise that residents who have questions regarding the dredging process please contact the Contract Superintendent, Mr Richard Dixon, on 4727 9000.

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Gustav channel dredging to begin
Barbara Gibbs
June 5th 2011
And if there weren't rock walls causing the accretion in the first place, there would be a deeper harbour(:
June 6th 2011
This 7000 cubic metres of sand, through normal riverine transport processes, was on its way to Nelly Bay. I have been pondering the rationale behind removing this material from the sand-budget of Nelly Bay (a bay with a major sand erosion problem) and relocating it to Picnic Bay, and the land-fill site that is already very close to its use-by date (hence the need for a waste transfer station very soon). Can someone explain how this activity doesn't exacerabate both of these problems (the cost of which will ultimately be borne by the entire rate base of this city).
June 6th 2011
Um, if there weren't rock walls there wouldn't be a harbour.
June 6th 2011
It's a shocker, Libby. The terms and conditions of the original construction of the harbour included a clause that no material excavated in the marine park (State or Federal - creek or reef flat respectively) leave the site. It was intended that any sand washed down Gustav Creek be captured in the sand trap just above Sooning St before it reached the harbour and trucked across to the Nelly Bay beach outside the harbour. Of course it has been discovered that the creek sand is often half mud and filled with trash and not suitable for spreading on the beach. In other words, the original idea is a failure and the authorities have to find another solution.
The excavated mouth of Gustav Creek (downstream of the Sooning St bridge) is now a canal estate which, under the Qld Canals Act is a Local government responsibility - much the same as a street. Not surprisingly, heaps of sand has found its way straight under the bridge and into the canal which is now so shallow that many boats touch the bottom and cannot be anchored at the pontoons. Council must put this right - it is a 'street' after all. What to do?
As ever, government authorities at every level are deaf and blind to each other's issues. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) insists that the Constitution Bridge be kept clear of sand so that the Presto Breakwater remains an island. The Queensland Government ducks the beach erosion question by making Townsville Council responsible for fixing it. The Council carries out a review and comes up with a cockeyed 'solution' which actually depends on consents from State and Commonwealth governments who simply do not oblige. So another short-term solution is sought.
The problem is right in the court of GBRMPA but no one ever demands that the Feds take responsibility for the cock-ups their decisions have wrought.
When Member for Herbert, Ewan Jones, is on the Island in a couple of weeks he should forget about meddling in local issues (the Nelly Bay-Arcadia walking track) and actually do something that is squarely related to his own federal role down in the Marine Park at Nelly Bay.
June 7th 2011
But will Ewan be able to find his way here in the first place?
wendy Tubman
June 10th 2011
This is yet another cost of the Nelly Bay Harbour. This dredging; the recent dredging and loss of trees in the creek up-stream of Sooning Street (between the Sooning and Barton Street bridges); the loss of Nelly Bay beach (foreshadowed by JCU's MMU's report, commissioned but ignored by government; the loss of paperbarks downstream of Sooning Street (who remembers them? - there was even a management plan prepared for them...).

And of course, we will not mention the economic disaster that is the NBH residential development - the development we had to have in exchange for this so, so costly harbour...

OK, its over. But, can we at least learn from past mistakes.

Let's think a bit more carefully about the longer-term impacts of the location of the transfer station, Radical Bay etc.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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