By Gordon GRAINGER
The Myall River Action Group (MRAG) regret to advise the myall coast community that the commencement of the dredging program promised for August this year will not take place and that a revised date is May 2015.
Reasons provided to the MRAG by Great Lakes Council, managers of the project, include the fact that the project required input and sign off by many State Governmental Agencies and despite requests from Council, several Departments were delinquent and ignored these requests.
Council was presented with a window between October 2014 and April 2015 when dredging would not be permitted.
This window is the result of a demand by a bird watching environmentalist group in order for Council to obtain an EPA license resulting in the successful dredge operator being unable to meet the timeline.
MRAG has made the following observations.
Our community were advised of Government funding availability in May 2013 and at that time, dredging was expected to begin before Christmas of that year.
Delays in obtaining agreements meant a deferment to May 2014, then August 2014, now May 2015.
Mr Baumann, the sitting member for Port Stephens, has been an advocate of the program and has received copies of our correspondence advising the delays and in April 2014, he was reported to announce that the project was on track to commence in August for completion in October.
The advice given to Mr Baumann from respective State agencies was obviously incorrect.
Regarding the exclusion window, we must question the veracity of a bird watching group who can have such influence by claiming dredging conducted through the Summer months would disturb the migratory bird population.
In actual fact, the sand foreshore on the affected eastern side of Corrie Island has eroded to non-existence.
The dredge would be operating hundreds of metres away from potential roosting sites and dredge spoil would be deposited on the Winda Woppa spit.
As a community, we should understand the ramifications of further delay.
The sand accretion rate throughout the system will continue adding to the final cost of removal.
Jimmies Beach renourishment trigger point was announced last week and will shortly result in transportation of sand by truck.
Sand source is again from adjacent dunes to Deadmans adding volume into Port Stephens and which has already reached worrying levels of sand migration.
We, as ratepayers will fund this environmental vandalism through Council rates.
The discredited State Government’s Trade and Investment Report in December 2012 accepted the fact that the Lower Myall could change from an oceanic influence to that of a lake.
That conclusion is true and the river continues to deteriorate in appearance, marine life and possible disease.
We strongly urge every member of this community to express their disappointment.
Letters and emails should be addressed to: Mr. Craig Baumann MP Member for Port Stephens. PO Box 82 Raymond Terrace NSW 2324. Email: – email@example.com
Also send to The General Manager Great Lakes Shire Council. PO Box 450 Forster NSW 2428. Email: – firstname.lastname@example.org