Council elections – Foreshore plan

Letter To The Fraser Coast Chronicle Editor

Hervey Bay Foreshore PlanThank you for your news item (12/12) regarding my candidacy for Division 6 in next year’s council elections.  While I appreciate a short report cannot be comprehensive, may I correct an error which misrepresents my position?

I am not opposed to the Esplanade Masterplan in total, just to parts of it. I will detail this more fully during the campaign, but mention a couple of issues now.

First, the plan envisages removal of more trees and vegetation and installation of more rock walls.  In the section from the Scarness Caravan Park east to Hervey Bay Sailing Club, there is a wide dune mostly well vegetated (apart from some recent council activity) which has withstood  many adverse weather events for as long as living memory. Left to itself it will preserve the beach effectively and free of cost.

The proposals to remove vegetation and install rock walls place our valuable beach at risk.  Rock walls are actions of last resort, they usually result in no beach for the top half of the tide, as a glance at Scarness or Urangan reveals.  Beaches can then only be regained by continual sand pumping or carting and pushing, locking in huge ongoing cost.

Sea views are fine, but we must avoid an end result that is no beach at all.  That’s hardly the way to promote a tourist precinct.

The proposed extension of Nielsen Park (council’s cost estimate $500,000) is part of this problem.  The relocation of the tennis court ($150,000) likewise.  Each of these proposals were supported by only 26.5% of submissions.

Then we have more silly ideas like relocating the beautiful Scarness rotunda, cost $50,000.

The public consultation too was, frankly, dodgy.  Only a few were allowed at the initial meetings.  The public wasn’t invited.  The submission process was designed around a questionnaire where every option supported the council’s view.  Then 400 submissions were digested (they would have us believe) in 4 or 5 weeks and the plan was approved.

This sort of rushed planning deserves more scrutiny, and hopefully a new council will do just that.

Yours sincerely,
David Lewis
Candidate Division 6