Slice of fishing heaven could be saved

Our slice of fishing heaven could be saved

A popular fishing hole south of Proserpine may not be lost to recreational fishers. A government department said it was working with Whitsunday Regional Council to identify options to allow fishing enthusiasts to access the site on Thompson Creek.

The anglers have been illegally using a track through private property to access an unofficial boat ramp.

The Department of Natural Resources informed the council it would close the gravel road to the site following a request by the landowner. It asked the council to stop maintaining the track across the private land and the boat launching area.

A department spokesman said it managed an area of state land adjoining Thompson Creek. "Members of the public have illegally been using a track through privately owned land to access this site to launch boats. The boat ramp, which has not been properly constructed, is not an authorised public boat ramp."

He said users exposed the private landholder and the state to significant liability risks and land degradation. The department and the council had been working closely "to identify suitable options for appropriate public access" to this area.

 

EARLIER:

AFTER decades of recreational use, the government will shut the gate on a road that leads to a little slice of fishing heaven on Thompson Creek, about 40km south of Proserpine.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines sent an official letter to Whitsunday Regional Council chief executive officer Scott Waters this week informing the council it would close the access road to the popular fishing site.

A council spokeswoman said the letter did not give a date for the closure of Magees Rd, but stated it was the result of a request made by a private landholder.

The fishing site has given pleasure to thousands of fishermen and women over generations and hosted state amateur fishing titles. One keen Mackay user, Lance Murray, said the spot was loved and respected by users, never trashed or vandalised, and fishing enthusiasts took away their rubbish.

Allan Ahmat, 63, who has fished at the spot since he was 12, is dismayed by the government decision.

As the president of the Mackay and District Amateur Fishing Clubs Association, Mr Ahmat said the area had been neglected for many years by the council but was popular with the fishing crowd from Mackay, Bowen and Proserpine, and by the clubs who also had many children as members.

"To have that done to us is un-Australian. It is part of our identity to be able to go fishing," Mr Ahmat said.

"Access to these popular fishing spots is slowly being taken from us. It is sad because it is one of the last areas that holds quality fish. You can catch a fish there and take it home for tea.

"Many of the other areas are being fished out by the professionals."

The fisherman said the problem may be the result of the gravel road being built in the wrong place, going behind a house known as "the old Cowans property" instead of at the front.

He said the property may be put on the market for sale and this could be the reason for the owner's application.

Last night a media spokesman for Natural Resources and Mines said a reply and explanation for the road closure would be made soon.

Thanks to Daily Mercury
Ross Irby | 22nd May 2014 | Updated: 23rd May 2014 12:21 PM
http://www.dailymercury.com.au/

Stockton dune drivers clean up their act

Stockton dune drivers clean up their act

Thanks to MATTHEW KELLY from the Newcastle Herald

RECREATIONAL vehicle drivers on Stockton beach appear to have improved their behaviour following a shocking  start to the Easter Break on Friday.
National Parks and Wildlife rangers said they had issued only a fraction of the number of infringement notices on Saturday and yesterday  as they had on Friday.
The Newcastle Herald reported on Saturday that frustrated rangers had stopped at least 20 drivers for dangerous and reckless driving.
Another dozen were caught driving on prohibited sections of the dunes.

 

While some drivers were cautioned, others who infringed will receive fines of up to $400 this week.
Unrestrained dogs were also a major problem on Friday. Herald website readers were polarised in their views about the problem.
Some readers said the majority of law-abiding 4WD owners had been unfairly labelled by the actions of an irresponsible minority.
Others called for harsher penalties for those caught breaking the rules.
‘‘Stockton beach is an idiot magnet. Those caught would only be a fraction of the morons tearing up the place. Time for a total lock-out for 12 months and then reassess access conditions,’’ one reader wrote.
National Parks and Wildlife ranger Tony DeMamiel said he was relieved driver behaviour had improved as the weekend went on. ‘‘We are getting quite a few vehicles down on the beachfront but they are being much more subtle in their behaviour,’’ Mr DeMamiel said. ‘‘Everyone should be able to go home safely after the Easter break. That’s what we are out here trying to enforce.’’

In addition to National Parks and Wildlife rangers, NSW Police also patrol the beach.
Double demerit points apply for driving infringements on the beach as they do on the road.

Kroombit Tops National Park

New route makes access to Kroombit Tops easier

TWO decades in the making, Kroombit Tops National Park has had its beauty unlocked from another access point. The official announcement and opening of the East-West Razorback Rd at the national park occurred at noon on Tuesday. The access road is in the beautiful rural heartland of Banana Shire, through Kroombit Farmstay on Lochenbar Station.



GAPDL chief executive Glenn Churchill said the announcement was exciting and would enhance guests' experience in the national park. "This exciting and welcome announcement today by the Queensland Government is another successful outcome from the Kroombit Tops Feasibility Study," he said.
"This is an opportunity to offer to the community and visitors to the region prescribed 4WD public roadways that allow for the exploration and appreciation of the national park and outlying areas. 



Carol Sandiland, of Lochenbar Station, said the opening was the realisation of a long-awaited goal. "We are located at the gateway to Kroombit Tops," she said.
"We hold a great passion for the national park and all of its beauty and it is great to see the Razorback Rd open." How to get there:
• 4WD high-clearance vehicles only.
• The western entrance to Razorback Rd can be accessed from Valentine Plains Rd, Biloela.

(thanks from http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au)

Tourism Research Aust

An Interesting Read from Tourism Research Australia.

We were intrigued when the Qld Camping Guidelines were issued that there was a claim made in BDO research commissioned by the CRVA that people who camped in caravan parks spent more money in a town than people who free camped, so we went looking and found this research done by the TRA (Tourism Research Aust) and we quote from their research.

"An analysis of the expenditure of the different caravan/camping groups shows that the highest average daily expenditure per person whilst in QOCW was recorded by those who used a combination of commercial and non-commercial sites ($90). Those who only used commercial sites spent slightly less per day on average ($80). Visitors who utilised only non-commercial sites spent less per day ($60), however, by virtue of the fact that they tended to spend longer in the region their total spend whilst in QOCW was comparable to the other caravan or camping groups. This analysis shows that the large majority of visitors who utilise non-commercial sites in QOCW spend significantly whilst in the region. Therefore one could argue that the key motivations for using such sites are more about experiences and itineraries than about saving money.

TO DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT (for the people that love lots of statistics) CLICK ON THIS LINK AND SAVE THE PDF

RVs still a hot topic

RVs still a hot topic at council

From Coastal Leader | May 14, 2014, 9:20 a.m.

FREE parking for Recreational Vehicles (RVs) is still a hot topic for Kingston District Council.

The issue was again in the spotlight at the April monthly meeting after the Caravan Parks Association of SA wrote to the council.

It released a document aimed at minimising the development of what it describes as non-compliant camping areas in towns where caravan parks already provide facilities for travellers.

 

The issue of RV free parks was again in the spotlight at the April monthly meeting after the Caravan Parks Association of SA wrote to the council.

Before council discussed the report, Kingston Caravan Park owner Kevin Pascoe addressed the meeting.

Mr Pascoe told council he had no objection to free parks, as long as they were large self-contained RVs with all sources including black water, grey water and were able to dispose of waste products correctly.

"What has happened is that, magazines are published around Australia for all overseas tourists to look at and it has Kingston as a free park," he said.

"Not a RV free park, but a free park which means that any bongo van, any tent or any other person who is not RV friendly is allowed to park in this town's park."

Mr Pascoe said he understood council was unable to police the free park all day and night, but he wanted to know what happened to the waste product, who paid for it and where they put their grey water.

"The problem is of course that the council hasn't got enough money to put anyone out there," Mr Pascoe said.

"Other councils are putting a charge on their parks."

Mr Pascoe told council he knew many people have congratulated them on their free park, and that he had been told those people spend up when in Kingston - a comment he disagreed with.

"I spend a lot of money in this town, my employees are all local and spend their money in the town," he said.

"Park maintenance is sourced from the town.

"The point I am trying to make here is that the people who use the RV park don't spend the money in this town."

Mr Pascoe told council those non-compliant vehicles which stop in the town, stay here for free at ratepayers' expense.

Mr Pascoe told council one of the most popular RV magazines praises Kingston as the number one town for their particular operation.

He said the article states "even though the sign says 24-hours, most people stay longer - it is not policed".

"What does this create for the town," Mr Pascoe asked.

Mr Pascoe thanked council for listening to his concerns and asked that they take into account what he has achieved over the last seven years with the caravan park.

Mayor Evan Flint told council it was now up to them to discuss the issue, and there was no easy answer.

Cr Chris England said: "If information is being printed that isn't right then perhaps we should write to them and ask them to change it.

"We should try and correct it."

CEO Nick Brown told council he went past the park every day after work and asked people to move on.

"We do have limited resources to police it," he said.

"One of the biggest issues is that we can ask them to move out, but they can just drive 50m and park legally."

Cr Sid Frankling said: "We created the free sites to move them off the foreshore."

Mayor Flint added that council had discussed the issue before and nothing really changes.

"Unless someone wants to move something," he said."We developed this idea because of the previous problem.

"We've been too successful (with the free park)."

Cr England moved that council attempt to monitor all camping publications to ensure the correct information is published and that the Maria Creek 24 hour park is monitored more closely.

This motion was seconded by Cr Darryl Morley.

Cr England added: "The problem is, the fact we got it, and it's good and it's free."

"Information is around the country that Kingston has a good free park, and everyone is coming here.

"If we didn't have such a good one, we wouldn't have it there - we can't have it both ways."

 

We must ‘populate outback to save it’

We must ‘populate outback to save it’

Thank you to SUE NEALES | The Australian | April 26, 2014 12:00AM

THE popular belief that Australia’s wilderness areas must be protected from people to persist and flourish is a dangerous myth that must be challenged and exploded, according to one of Australia’s leading conservationists.

Barry Traill, director of the Outback Australia program funded by the philanthropic Canada-based Pew Environmental Trust, will today tell a conference in Sydney that survival of native animals and plants depends on more, not fewer, people in the outback.

However, neither bigger outback towns nor more intensive ­irrigation and agricultural development of Australia’s north — both ambitions of the Abbott government — was the way to achieve preservation and conservation of the outback’s unique environment, according to Dr Traill.

Instead, he believed Australians must treasure the outback as one of the five great remaining natural spaces left on the planet, ranking alongside the Amazon Basin, the Sahara desert, Canada’s tundra and boreal forests and Antarctica.

“In the outback we have one of the few great wild places left on Earth,” said Dr Traill, a former ­biologist and campaigner with The Wilderness Society. “But it is a huge and complex area; probably only 5 per cent or less of it is managed ­effectively by its respective authorities and owners.

“You might think a deep green conservationist like me would want more national parks and wilderness areas that are largely empty of people, but for our outback wild places, the exact opposite problem is true — there are actually too few people living in them to conserve our wildlife.”

Dr Traill said the past 50 years, when many indigenous people as well as station workers, labourers and national park employees had left remote parts of the outback, had been disastrous for its flora and fauna. Massive wildfires have swept the landscape where once small patchwork fires were deliberately burnt. Feral animals and weeds have also invaded.

Dr Traill said when permanent Aboriginal groups left WA’s Great Sandy Desert country in the 1950s, the native bilby largely disappeared, as devastating fires took away its habitat and desert people were no longer around to hunt predatory feral cats.

Pilliga locked down

Pilliga locked down amid CSG program

Huge swathes of public land surrounding Santos coal seam gas drilling activities in the Pilliga forest of North West NSW have been closed to the public by police in what is suspected to be a bid to keep the watchful eyes of the public and media out of Santos' way, protesters says.

 

Pilliga East State forest and Bibblewindi State Forest were declared closed yesterday afternoon, with police telling community members that all visitors to the usually public areas must move on by 9am this morning, or risk $2200 fines.
 
"I'm staggered that this lock out is taking place in our local public forests with no reason provided by the police or Forestry Corporation," said Narrabri Shire farmer Sarah Ciesiolka.
 
"These large and sudden exclusion zones around Santos' activities in the Pilliga state forests makes it obvious that it's the push for coal seam gas drilling that's behind this.
 
"It's seems disturbingly clear that the local police are now taking orders from Santos, instead of defending the best interests of the public.
 
Bundella farmer Megan Kuhn said local farmers visiting the state forest had found coal seam gas waste water spills and alerted authorities and media in recent years.
 
"These are public roads that we have a right to access to help community stay informed," she said.
 
"The EPA only have three ‘field officers’ based in Armidale to inspect the whole north west and we are far from satisfied that they monitor Santos’ operations to a satisfactory level."

From the Australian http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/latest/pilliga-locked-down-amid-csg-program/story-e6frg90f-1226872185457

Wattle Range Council

Wattle Range Council considers free camping zones

From the council:

1 April 2014

With the increase of visitors travelling with self-contained motorhomes and caravans, the Wattle Range Council is considering designating camping areas for these vehicles.

Mayor Peter Gandolfi said Council is seeking public comment on the designation of limited short term vehicle only camping areas in various locations across the Council area.

Mr Gandolfi said more and more people are travelling with self-contained vehicles and currently there are no designated areas where they can camp.

“Visitors are currently stopping throughout Wattle Range during their stay and Council is well aware that some are camping at inappropriate areas including town parklands,” said Mr Gandolfi.

“As a result, Council is aiming to limit the camping to appropriate locations and regulating these stays through its bylaws.”

He said refusing free camping altogether would simply result in travellers moving to neighbouring council areas resulting in lost income to the retail and service sector in Wattle Range.

“Some owners of self-contained motorhomes and caravans choose not to stay in caravan parks,” Mr Gandolfi said. “To cater to these people Council established a bylaw allowing short-term stays and is now in the process of identifying suitable areas where this free camping can occur. These locations will be only for self-contained motorhomes and caravans and will not allow the erection of tents.”

Council is seeking feedback from members of the public, including caravan park owners and others in the business community, on the locations being considered for recreational vehicle free camping.

Council officers have suggested the following locations could be considered as designated free camping areas:

    Greenrise Lake, Penola – maximum of 2 nights
    Kalangadoo Railway Reserve Park – overnight only
    Railway Reserve Tantanoola – maximum 2 nights
    Visitor Information Centre, Millicent – overnight only
    Mt Gambier Road Parking Bay – overnight only

Maps showing these sites and further information on Council’s Recreational Vehicle Camping Areas can be found on Councils Website: http://www.wattlerange.sa.gov.au/rv-vancamping

Written submissions should be addressed to the Wattle Range Council and posted to one of the following addresses before 5pm on Wednesday 30th April 2014:

    PO Box 27, Millicent SA 5280; or left at:
    the 'Civic Centre', George Street, Millicent
    Beachport Visitor Information Centre - Millicent Road, Beachport
    Penola Visitor Information Centre - 27 Arthur Street, Penola