NOTICE OF MOTION – MONEY’S CREEK UPPER LAGOON

This morning I have given notice that at the next Ordinary Meeting of Council scheduled  for Tuesday 17th December 2019, I intend to move the following motion:

  1. That Council: 
  2. Create a Money’s Creek Taskforce to investigate and make recommendations regarding environmental and community concerns affecting the upper lagoon catchment; 
  3. that the Division 5 Councillor be assigned to the Taskforce as the Chairperson; 
  4. Council allocate qualified staff as deemed appropriate to the Taskforce; 
  5. invite membership from the Burnett Mary Regional Group; 
  6. invite membership from the Bargara Golf Club 
  7. invite membership from community members with the ability to provide historical or otherwise meaningful input 
  8. That the Taskforce be tasked as a matter of urgency with reviewing all existing
    environmental and engineering reports thus far obtained and determine whether there is sufficient information available to proceed with its investigation without further advice;
     
  9. In the event that it is determined that sufficient information is not available to it, the Taskforce request Council to consider the allocation of funds for further reports. 

 

Background

For two decades I have been proposing a solution to the siltation problem affecting the Money’s Creek Upper Lagoon. During that time successive terms of Council have been reluctant to provide or seek funding to remedy the situation or to provide a leadership role in seeking a solution.

Problem

Each year the amount of silt that enters the lagoon creates a decrease in the depth of water and the amount of dissolved oxygen within the catchment. During our warmer months the limited amount of oxygen stresses and often kills significant numbers of native fish creating an environmental nightmare which is completely avoidable.

Historically, the Council has installed gates to retain water in the upper lagoon to prevent the impact of sand flies and midges on local residents. These gates are manually opened when ocean tides exceed 2.7 metres which is a height requirement to allow fresh seawater to enter the lagoon and provide limited refreshment of the catchment.

To avoid entrapped water from entering the popular swimming area of the lower lagoon during popular times such as weekends and school holidays, this practice can only take place on weekdays when the suitable height limit is reached.

This entire process is both expensive and ineffectual.

Solution

Qualified hydraulic engineers have provided a range of possible solutions and whilst it is not the purpose of this motion to debate which is likely to be the most environmentally effective and cost efficient, it is obvious that and solution will require the urgent dredging of portions of the upper lagoon.

Funding recently granted to the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) for a number of regional projects will be totally ineffectual in resolving the issue.

In-depth (non-professional) knowledge of the issue has been acquired by several local residents including those associated with the Bargara Golf Club.

Summary

Despite the lagoon being owned by the Golf Club, it is without doubt regarded as a de-facto community asset. It is also apparent that any solution will be beyond the means of the club and its members.

On 3rd December 2019, following a lengthy period of drought, numerous fingerlings and small fish perished and it is feared that without significant rainfall and as we enter warmer weather, we will experience far more critical fatalities.

A number of committees have previously been formed to investigate this issue however they appear to have failed for various reasons. I submit that as a local government authority, the Council is best placed to provide a more tangible leadership and collaborative role utilising limited professional resources to lobby State & Federal Governments for sufficient and meaningful funding. The implementation of a mitigation strategy will see our environmental and community aspirations reflected in this valuable water course and catchment.

Although I have raised this issue many times over this term of Council and others before it, I urge Councillors to take a leadership role by supporting this motion. As new Councillors will join the ranks in 2020, I submit that it is imperative to lay the foundations for a successful outcome on this issue including the ongoing benefit for our community.

 

 

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