Mayor on the fence about $3.2 million fishway project

Mayor Gerard O'Connell says he needs to get his head around Wide Bay Water Corporation's project to build a new fishway at the No 1 dam on the Burrum River at Howard.
Mayor Gerard O'Connell says he needs to get his head around Wide Bay Water Corporation's project to build a new fishway at the No 1 dam on the Burrum River at Howard. Tracey Joynson

FRASER Coast mayor Gerard O'Connell is on the fence about the $3.2 million Wide Bay Water Corporation project to build a new fishway at the No 1 dam on the Burrum River.

He said he would need to get his "head around it" before forming an opinion on whether it should go forward or be shelved.

The existing fish ladder at No 1 dam on the Burrum River at Howard.
The existing fish ladder at No 1 dam on the Burrum River at Howard. Tracey Joynson

The Chronicle revealed this week that eight years after Lenthalls Dam was raised, on the condition that a new fishway be built, a detailed design has still not been produced.

WBWC set aside $3.2 million for the project in 2010 and committed to it being completed before June next year.

But WBWC acting chief executive officer Garry Storch said this week that they had not been satisfied the designs they had looked at were going to work appropriately.

His comments were at odds with environmentalist Graham Berry who said a WBWC manager told the council's environmental advisory committee  in February that the Burrum fish ladder was at the detailed design stage and tenders would be called in May or June for construction to be completed in 2013.

The water operations are in the process of being brought back under the council's control and Mr O'Connell said he wanted to know: "what's the condition, how do we meet it and what's the cost".

"I'm reticent to be spending unless there's a return to ratepayers," he said.

"I'm not going to spend money if it ain't effective."

But Mr O'Connell went on to say that if the water body had a project, such a fishway, under way, it should continue.

"I can't really give you a definite answer," he said.

He said the water body could either go ahead and build a new fishway or say it didn't work and consider alternatives such as relocating fish species or a breeding program.

Topics:  burrum river, fish ladder, fishway, mayor, wide bay water



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