A proposed 40-metre jetty to be built on the Tweed River at Chinderah Bay would not only spoil an iconic coastal view of Mt Warning but increase boat traffic and wake erosion, according to Tweed Greens Cr Katie Milne.
The plans for the pontoon, proposed to be built opposite the local tavern, will be the subject of a public meeting on Tuesday, October 15, at the Chinderah Scout Hall from 4pm, organised by Tweed Shire Council.
Last year Council resolved to support the plan for the pontoon/jetty by the Chinderah District Residents Association and pushed by former one-term mayor Kevin Skinner, who runs a motel in Chinderah.
But Crs Milne and Gary Bagnall have since opposed the move, citing concerns about erosion, impacts on nearby seagrass beds, and the spoiling of views along the riverside Chinderah Bay Road.
At last month’s council meeting councillors considered a staff recommendation to shorten the proposed pontoon from 40 metres to 30 metres and shift it 45 metres further east, but resolved to delay its decision until after next week’s public forum on the issue.
Staff said the proposed changes were because of concerns from local commercial fishers and the site’s proximity to existing Crown lease areas.
Cr Milne, who spearheaded a successful campaign to stop a controversial 115-berth marina proposed for near the same location seven years ago before she was elected to Council, told Echonetdaily that the issue was ‘not just about a local boat jetty’.
‘This jetty will affect this iconic, coastal vista of Mt Warning over Chinderah Bay, enjoyed by thousands of locals and visitors, and will increase boat traffic and wake erosion across the whole river,’ she said.
‘Does the community value this national iconic vista in its relatively natural state, or should we allow this 40-metre jetty to intrude on this majestic vista?’
Cr Milne said that in a new report Council had identified six kilometres of ‘active and severe’ erosion threatening Tweed Valley Way and Tumbulgum Road, ‘with few options except full rock revetment, and an estimated cost of $9 million’.
Rock armour visual impact
The report says that as a result, there would be a significant stretch of the Tweed River estuary in which full-height rock armour ‘would have a serious impact on visual amenity and environmental quality’.
‘Does the community want more boating facilities and boating activity, and are we prepared to pay for this, in more ways than one?’ Cr Milne said.
‘While the report highlights numerous factors for this dramatic erosion, increasing boat traffic and large wakes have been identified as continuously disturbing sediments and interrupting vegetation colonisation of the banks between flood events,’ she said.
Cr Milne said the proposed jetty was ‘just upstream’ from the large proposed marina that was rejected by the Land and Environment Court in 2007.
‘The court rejected that on the grounds of impacts to the significant vista of Mt Warning, unacceptable impacts on the largest seagrass beds in the Tweed River, and as the economic benefits did not outweigh the impacts to the community,’ she said.
The Greens councillor says surveys at the time of the court action had shown most Chinderah residents did not want increased boating activity in the river there.
Councillors at last month’s meeting voted (Cr Carolyn Byrne against) to advise ministers involved with the river’s management of the ‘extreme Tweed River erosion problems that are currently threatening the Tweed Valley Way and other parts of the Tweed River system’ and to ‘seek their advice in addressing this situation, through possible management options and funding options’.
They also voted on a motion by Crs Milne and Bagnall for Council to write to the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to express ‘disappointment that signage on important seagrass beds in the Tweed River has not been seen as needed and that Council requests the Roads and Maritime Service to again reassess the request’ (Crs Warren Polglase, Phil Youngblutt and Byrne against).
And in a further notice of motion on river management, they voted for Council to develop a recreational use strategy for the river ‘to determine the Tweed community’s desired future character for the river system in light of the current state of erosion of the river, and the desired level of recreational facilities’ (Crs Polglase and Youngblutt against).