March 14th 2008
It's definitely time
Just next to Townsville City Council's gleaming wastewater treatment works at Picnic Bay and tucked away behind a screen of mangroves is a semi-permanent wetland where heron and other birds gather to fish and roost. At this time of year it serves as a fish nursery and is full of insect life. Looked at from the right angle it could be a tiny corner of Kakadu. But, as a reserve under the control of our council, this wetland, on World Heritage Magnetic Island, has become a dumping place for wrecked cars. It reveals, in our view, much that has characterised Townsville City Council's treatment of its so-called, jewel in the crown, Magnetic Island.
Last November, at the end of the last dry season, I wrote the following to Magnetic Island Councillor and Deputy Mayor, Jenny Hill,
I am seeking your comments regarding the appearance of car wrecks and the conversion of a semi-permanent wetland into an informal racing circuit, which I believe to be part of TCC's Reserve, adjacent to the Wastewater treatment plant at Cockle Bay?
In particular, what efforts has TCC made to protect this delicate environment from these intrusions?
Registration information is still visible on some of the vehicles so has TCC sought the help of police in identifying the owners and organising removal?
Is there a fine which is applicable for this behaviour on property which comes under the responsibility of TCC?
The growth in numbers of wrecked cars on the freehold land acquired by TCC on the other side of the wastewater plant - recently converted from residential to core industry - has continued for years, so can you indicate whether this is condoned by TCC and if so can anybody dump their car there? If not why doesn't TCC act to have the owners dispose of the vehicles?
A photo of another wreck which we sent to
Councillor Hill with the correspondence last year.
Like all of our other corresponence to Councillor Hill (bar yesterday's - read here), since becoming Magnetic's representative on Council, there has been no reply at all.
Meanwhile the wrecks rust quietly. Their grease and oil is likely, right now, to be slowly oozing out and eventually ending up in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It would barely rate as a spill - just an ugly and easily avoided mess. To us, this is the kind of nitty gritty little job a truly involved and engaged council that genuinely respects our World Heritage environment would have attended to without fanfare or hesitation. To us it is just one small but clear example of how things are not done. An example we think is quite telling.
Instead Council has taken every opportunity to tout their green credentials for building the expensive and necessary sewerage infrastructure next to this wetland and at Horseshoe Bay. But these facilities were nonetheless required of them by the Environment Protection Agency - making virtue of a necessity.
Tommorow Magnetic Islanders and Townsville cast their votes for both a new council and a new Mayor. It is an unusual election because we get to elect the whole council, not just our ward or division's candidates. This is an unparalleled opportunity to decided among fortynine Council candidates and, of course, from five for your next Mayor. We think it is definitely time, how about you?
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