A proposal that could return a favourite Koongal past-time
SHERI McQuire shared fond memories of an old shack and jetty at Donovan Park that used to occupy the riverbank in Koongal as she met with Councillor Tony Williams to discuss a planned upgrade to the site.
She described a childhood of weekends and school holidays spent by the Fitzroy, fishing and crabbing until sundown with many other children and families of Koongal sharing in her joy.
"All of the locals used to be down there all the time,” she said.
Today, the jetty and shack are no longer but a dangerous bank slowly eroding from over-use remains.
"No one really comes down here any more, we really miss what it used to be,” Ms McQuire said.
"It's dangerous with the erosion and the broken glass, even getting to the water to fish can be hazardous. I don't like bringing my kids down here.
"I want to bring my kids down, it would be something my family has been sharing for four generations and I wish I could take my kids there as well.”
Cr Williams met with Ms McQuire and other members of the "Koongal Killers” community group to discuss the plans for the waterfront location.
Cr Williams, who grew up in Koongal, shared in their euphoria for the much loved fishing site when it was in its prime.
He said there was a design ready to go for the location pending funding from State or Federal governments.
"It's been a 'go to' destination for locals for decades,” Cr Williams said.
"$25,000 worth of work has already been done towards this project through surveying and design and the development application is in the works.
"This is among two other designs I have ready, one at Queens Park and the other at Wharf St.
"It's a shovel-ready project that is just waiting for funding.
"With the federal election coming up, we can see that this is a tourism opportunity to have the best fishing river in Australia so we're working with other levels of government to develop the infrastructure to put on to the river.”
Cr Williams said he had noticed the erosion of the banks over the years and believed the bank was once 20 metres broader than it is, prompting him to factor erosion into the design.
"The platform will allow people access to the water and stabilise the riverbank, which has obviously been eroding over the years,” he said.
He backed in the project as a priority and he is working hard to get it off the ground.
"Even if we don't do all of our projects in one go, I'm confident we can stage them and deliver them one at a time, but I think this one is the one to start with,” he said.
Cr Williams said the proposed fishing platform would be similar to the platform erected in North Rockhampton.
Ms McQuire was happy with what Cr Williams' proposal outlined and said the "Koongal Killers” would be approaching State and Federal governments.
"We're all pretty happy with these plans,” she said.
"We have about 530 people in the group, if we can get all those signatures then we will have a strong petition.
"All of these people would use a facility like this if one was built.
"Put enough work in and you would get so many people down here fishing and having fun.”
Ms McQuire said she can now see a future where she could share her childhood highlights with her own children.