Fight's not over
THE fight to stop the Traveston Crossing Dam on the Mary River may have been won but the fight to save the Mary isn’t over.
Saturday was a day for celebration for those who had fought tirelessly against the Traveston dam but it was also a day to recognise that much work still needed to be done if the Mary River was to be restored to her former glory.
Glenda Pickersgill also spoke of federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s decision to veto the dam because of the environmental damage it would do to the river’s endangered species, including the Mary River cod, turtle and the lungfish.
She said, however, Mr Garrett had approved other conditions that would have seen the dam go ahead, such as the impact on migratory species and the dam’s impact on Fraser Island, and that it was imperative the problems surrounding these issues were made clear.
Ms Pickersgill was also concerned the people of the Mary Valley were supported as they got their lives back together after three years of uncertainty.
“We need to make sure their lives get back to normal as quickly as possible.”
“We still have a lot to do.”
But, although there was a serious side to the day, it was also a day of celebration and Ms Pickersgill said that people power had won the day.
“It has been such a wonderful week,” she said.
“It’s been hard to wipe the smile off my face.”
Tanzi Smith, who played a key role in stopping the dam, said the community should be proud of what it had achieved.
“It really has been the whole community that has made this happen.”
Daryl Stewart, chairman of the Greater Mary Association, said there was still work to be done to make the Mary River a “healthy river”.
Gene Merrill, who has lived by the Mary River for several years, agreed, saying the Mary River is a “very sick river” but that with work and commitment a lot of improvements could be made.
Laurie Wilson, who lives at Big Tuan near the Great Sandy Strait and attended every Greater Mary Association meeting with his wife Betty, said he fought the dam because it would have decimated fish stocks around the Strait.
He said that although Mr Garrett hadn’t found the dam would cause damage to the Strait, he and his wife were prepared to fight the decision if it were necessary.
“We’ll have to see what Garrett’s final appraisal says,” he said, “and if necessary we’ll keep up the fight.”