Dredging digs up disapproval from Bribie residents

MAINTENANCE NEEDED? The Pacific Harbour canal.
MAINTENANCE NEEDED? The Pacific Harbour canal. Kyle Zenchyson

RESIDENTS with canal frontage are none too pleased about canal dredging and the levy charged by Moreton Bay Regional Council.

Banksia Beach resident Graham McDonald's home backs on to a section of the Pacific Harbour canal.

In his opinion, dredging is an unnecessary expense.

"It doesn't need it. For 20 years it's been like this … a lot of people will say they're self-cleaning," he said.

"It's all about money."

The council's Pacific Harbour Canal Maintenance Special Charge applies to properties in the Pacific Harbour estate with canal frontage, which, for many affected residents, means paying an additional $525 a year.

According to the 2015/16 MBRC revenue statement, the charge is "for the purpose of funding works for preserving, maintaining and keeping clean and navigable", which totals $466,351, including $100,000 for beach restoration.

"There's no beach restoration here. They've put rocks across the wall, so the beach is gone," Mr McDonald said.

Lindsay Cooper lives in a southern section of the canal and said it did not make any sense to dredge to allow better boat navigation.

"At low tide I've got about 13 feet of water underneath," he said.

University of Queensland associate professor Ron Johnstone is researching how canal estates interact with the environment and came across Mr McDonald while conducting tests on a boat in the canal.

On initial observation, Mr Johnstone thought the canal was behaving like many he has studied previously.

"It's functioning sort of like a deeper estuary, but one of the things, if I'm concerned about anything, is the level of water exchange in those upper reaches," he said.

He said dredging could be carried out to modify the depth of the canal so a certain volume of water running in and out of it maintained a healthy marine ecology.An MBRC spokesman said the council had established an advisory group with representatives of the Pacific Harbour Canal Property Owners' Association regarding issues that affect the canal residents.

"The long-term maintenance plan is designed to be reviewed periodically, with such a review currently under way," he said.

Topics:  bribie island canal dredging

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