BYRON SHIRE COUNCIL ORDINARY MEETING 16 July 2015
No. 1 Matter of Urgency – Dredging works in the Brunswick River Resolved that Council writes to the Minister of Lands and Water, the Hon Niall Blair, seeking a deferment of any dredging works in the Brunswick river until the following questions have been considered and answers provided and that permission to use Council’s boat ramp to launch the dredge vessel will not be granted until support has been gained through Council resolution.
- Purpose of Works:
- As works haven’t occurred for over 20 years, is work proposed ‘maintenance’ or new?
- If considered maintenance, what ongoing maintenance is proposed?
- What are estimated ongoing costs to maintain the assumed benefits?
- Has the stated purpose to “enable safe boat passage” and “address public safety and environmental risks associated with shallow depths causing vessels to run aground” been assessed and supported by evidence? What are the specific measurable triggers that are being applied? Are there documented reports of any accidents and/or injury as a result of shallow waters? Has there been any effort to implement signage in the river indicating the deep channel areas and speed limits?
- Is the area concerned currently un-navigable? Is there evidence of this?
- Impacts of Works:
- Did the REF consider cumulative impacts of ongoing or recurrent dredging?
- What modelling has been used to consider the rate of natural sand replacement, and at what regularity is proposed for the ongoing maintenance.
- What documentation exists to support the selection of the three proposed dredging sites?
- Have immediate and ongoing impacts on sea grasses been considered?
- Are there any potential nearby geomorphic disturbances identified, such as heightened erosion or accretion?
- What are the specific measurable triggers that are being applied to effects of works, natural sand replacement processes and environmental disruptions?
- Has a cost-benefit analysis been completed that incorporates environmental and social considerations?
- Impacts of Works on Fishers and other Users:
- What commercial fishing benefits have been identified and what evidence has been produced for justification?
- What evidence exists to illustrate any current navigation impediments to commercial fishers due to the current state of the river?
- Have impacts of dredging for recreational fisherman been assessed?
- What assessment has been conducted, and evidence provided, to verify the claimed benefits for local economies and tourism industries?
- Does this assessment include possible negative impacts due to ecological and marine disturbance?
- Wider support for Works:
- Does OEH support the work and agree with the necessity?
- Does Marine Parks support the work and agree with the necessity? Does Marine Parks have concerns and have these concerns been investigated? What are the strategies being put in place to overcome articulated areas of concerns?
- Has the local Tourism organisation been consulted? Do they agree with the stated need for the dredging?
- Has the REF been exhibited for public comment?
- Has community sentiment been assessed and considered supportive of the proposed works and the needs as stated of them?
- Is the Minister satisfied with the level of community consultation and community support?(Richardson/Spooner)
The motion was put to the vote and declared carried.
Crs Cubis and Woods voted against the motion.