They Come And Destroy What They Come To Enjoy – National Parks Association of Queensland

They Come And Destroy What They Come To Enjoy

Author: Jane Gray

Photography: Supplied

We, residents of Agnes Water 1770, recently heard straight from Mayor Matt Burnett indications that expansion of the existing carpark at 1770 that gives access to Round Hill Creek, will be provided for by resumption of a portion of the Joseph Banks Conservation Park. And that negotiations with Queensland Parks & Wildlife were proceeding.

This goes against the general first principle to avoid placing new development or assets in coastal hazard areas. This principle can be found on page 34 of the Gladstone Regional Council (GRC), Our Coast Our Future Development Plan. We need better thinking than this.

Joseph Banks Conservation Park is bound by open ocean on the East and the still waters of Round Hill Creek to the West. The park is botanically rich, and protects areas of wind-sheered coastal plant communities, tropical rainforests and mangroves. The park also has a rich cultural history and is part of the Gooreng Gooreng Aboriginal people’s country. Cook’s ship HMB Endeavour anchored near by and journals tell us that naturalist Joseph Banks collected 33 plant species here.

Purloining any portion of a designated conservation park for use as a carpark is an unconscionable act outside the charter of local government responsibilities for its constituency and even more so the maintenance of safe and healthy natural environments in which they live. To simply expand the current facility by resumption of protected environs is highly undesirable and unacceptable for the following reasons.

The proposed carpark development will place pressure on what remains of a small but significant portion of Joseph Banks Conservation Park’s wetland that is under threat.

Unfortunately is seems council is least interested in being environmentally responsible. The wetland provides the sole, permanent supply of fresh water to endemic and migratory fauna for the entirety of this conservation park. This wetland also provides an important array of life sustaining, biologically interdependent bio-systems integral to the health of adjacent Great Barrier Reef (GBR) habitats. It is now widely known and recognised that all wetlands, are invaluable.

The proposed area for resumption, and the finalised carpark facility will not only be singular in function, it will not be sufficient to cater for peak periods when recreational and commercial fishers come from afar. Gladstone Regional Council’s simplistic solution of a larger carpark will not solve the real problems, that of increased population pressure and rising sea levels. The latter problems are the focus of our efforts.

There is now incontrovertible, peer reviewed scientific evidence that overfishing is second only to climate change as an existential threat to the health and vigour of the GBR. The proposed car/boat trailer facility will inadvertently contribute to threatening the GBR.

There is scientific research that shows the GBR is already suffering from over fishing. Sadly the lessons from the story ‘The Lorax” by Dr Seuss are still relevant.

Regional Council must accept its roles and responsibilities to share the implementation of measures that will guarantee the GBR’s future wellbeing.

Having provided some of the most salient arguments against resumption of Joseph Banks Conservation Park land, alternative more desirable proposals ought to be presented. Proper resolution is well and truly overdue.

Page 10 of Matt Burnett’s GRC: Our Coast Our Future Strategic Plan states:
“Key environmental values include: Coastal Landforms – including extensive tidal inlets, estuaries, coastal plains and sandy beaches. Vegetation Communities and Ecosystems – including the wetlands, seagrasses, mangroves, and native dune vegetation; and Significant and endangered Species – including both land and marine environments….”

GRC really does need a total rethink, collaborating with its community in a genuine way, to strategically plan in line with its very own publication of environmental policies.

We as a community are being proactive in support of a total rethink. We have commenced work with researchers from Griffith University who have developed a tool to better design spaces along the Queensland coast that are grappling with population pressures and rising sea levels.

All plants and all animals, other than homo sapiens, do not vote, pay taxes … They cannot save themselves from the species that relies on them most of all.

Please support us in any way you can.

Agnes Water 1770 Community

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