Freedom Fast Cats owner Max Allan is concerned about the upcoming dredging works at Great Keppel Island.
Freedom Fast Cats owner Max Allan is concerned about the upcoming dredging works at Great Keppel Island. Amy Haydock

Max fears the worst with GKI erosion works looming

MAX Allan is adamant upcoming erosion protection works on Great Keppel Island would be more devastating than Cyclone Marcia.

The co-owner of Freedom Fastcats found it difficult to fight back tears as he stood as a "one man show" against the relocation of sand from the "borrow site" on Fisherman's Beach to Putney Beach.

As the longest established ferry business linking the Capricorn Coast with Great Keppel Island, Max said he and his family stood to lose everything in the short and long term.

READ: Dredging delays have kept Capricorn Coast boaties at bay

"To close over the summer months is absolutely ridiculous," he said.

"We have spent $150,000 on tourism in this area alone ourselves, it's going to be a total waste, you won't be able to bring people here.

"In the short-term, it will absolutely destroy us totally and destroy the island residents over the Christmas period and in the long term it would have severe effects, especially on Fisherman's Beach... which is really the only place you can load and unload the passengers."

 

Max Allan took this photo of Fishermans Beach at high tide on October 17 at 11am.
Max Allan took this photo of Fishermans Beach at high tide on October 17 at 11am.

Freedom Fastcats transport between 200-500 passengers a day during the holiday season.

Max explained since similar works were carried out across June and July last year, they were forced to "virtually unload people onto a sand dune" during high tide, and he worried the impact this had on visitors and the environment.

"Since they took all that sand from the beach, it has flattened out, we used to always get up on our boat and unload onto the beach," he said.

"Now, any tide below 1.2 metres, we have to take people out in the small boats."

Max said he only became aware of the works in recent days by chance, when he ferried one of the contractors who is due to start work within the next 10 days.

 

Max Allan took this photo of Fishermans Beach at high tide on October 17 at 11am when high tide that day was at 9.36am.
Max Allan took this photo of Fishermans Beach at high tide on October 17 at 11am when high tide that day was at 9.36am.

He claimed the sand ,which had previously been relocated from Fisherman's Beach to Putney Bay, had since washed away, and suggested an alternative would be to pump that sand back, or relocate sand from deeper surrounds.

Max, his wife Carmel and son Maxwell have run the business since 1998, and have since invested about $15 million into their business, including wharf terminals on the Rosslyn Bay marina and five boats.

He remains hopeful others will support his bid to stop the works before they begin.

"We have one of the biggest years we have had this year," he said of the upcoming November to January tourism season.

"It will be totalled, you won't be able to take them all it will be that damaged."

"I hope someone might get behind and say 'Wow, this isn't on'," Max said.

"It's complete madness if you've got a good beach to destroy to save another, there's plenty of other alternatives, pump out of deeper or relocate the sand."

Livingstone Shire councillor Adam Belot responds to GKI works

 

Livingstone Shire councillor Adam Belot.
Livingstone Shire councillor Adam Belot. Jessica Christie

WHEN Max Allan contacted Livingstone Shire councillor Adam Belot, it was the first the water, waste management and environment portfolio holder had heard of the removal of sand from Fishermans Beach in order to replenish Putney Beach.

It remains unclear which governing body is responsible for the upcoming works, but Cr Belot said he would seek clarification over "what work has been approved, who has approved it and with the assurance it has been done in compliance with all of the relevant environmental stakeholders".

"I will be following up immediately to ensure that those answers are provided," Cr Belot said.

"Council certainly has an extensive shoreline management document and I will be in consultation with council environmental and planning officers to ascertain whether this is indeed under the authority of the Shoreline Management Plan, adopted in 2007, which I believe is under review."

Cr Belot thanked Max for contacting him, and encouraged members of the public, whether private or business, to contact him in relation to his portfolio.



Crikey! 4m croc spotted near kids on Fitzroy River

Crikey! 4m croc spotted near kids on Fitzroy River

Rocky fisherman almost has a close encounter with croc

Judge cautions jury as verdict hangs overnight

premium_icon Judge cautions jury as verdict hangs overnight

Defence calls no witnesses in "complex” trial

Chinese student delegation builds stronger CQ ties

premium_icon Chinese student delegation builds stronger CQ ties

The international student market is worth a lot to the local economy

Local Partners