Contaminated spoil from the dredging of the Evans River may have contributed to attracting sharks to the area, according to an Evans Head residents group.
In a letter to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the Evans Head Residents for Sustainable Development group has blasted the Crown Lands department for the quality of spoil dumped on Main Beach last year during dredging operations.
Group spokesperson Dr Richard Gates said ‘In my view the whole dredging process has damaged the beach and the contaminated spoil has probably acted to attract sharks to the area via direct or indirect means’.
Dr Gates said photographic evidence showed that Crown Lands and other departments had failed to ensure that the quality of spoil dumped on Main Beach was consistent with the natural sands of the area.
Photos show black sludge containing material such as oyster shells being dumped on the beach, or being released into the ocean.
He said the Richmond Valley Council had been left to try clean up the mess.
‘In my view there needs to be a thorough review of this whole process,’ he said.
‘Richmond Valley Council has been left to clean up a contaminated beach. Who will be picking up the bill?
‘And I would like to know why material incompatible with the beach and the ocean was dumped on the Main Beach at Evans Head and who made the decision to allow that to happen.
‘Where were the monitoring authorities and why was no oversight given to the process by independent agencies?
Dr Gates raised the concerns of the group back in November in a letter to the environment officer from the Crown Lands department.
Dr Gates said the Main Beach at Evans Head needs to be properly cleaned up and the unsuitable material removed.
He will be speaking at a shark summit later this week where he will raise his concerns about the possibility of organic material being dumped acting as burley for sharks.