Putney Beach at the centre of public discussion
DAVID Kelly says a jetty is the only sustainable way to reduce the relocation of sand on Great Keppel Island in the wake of a local businessman's outcry over upcoming erosion protection works on the island.
The former Yeppoon turned Rockhampton local has frequented GKI since the early 1980s, both for recreational sailing and work, and over the years claimed the environment had substantially changed - particularly noting large holes in the sand, he believes are the result of ferries.
His recollection follows Fastcat Ferries co-owner Max Allan's disapproval of GKI Bar & Resort Pty Ltd's successful application to the Livingstone Shire Council build a revetment wall, approved on May 29, 2015.
Mr Allan last week expressed his opposition to the relocation of sand from Fishermans Beach to Putney Beach in fear of the effects it would have on his business and the environment after he discovered work was due to begin soon.
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Capricorn Enterprise chief executive officer Mary Carroll and Livingstone Shire councillor Graham Scott have since come out in support of the works, which they deem "vital" to the island's future.
But Mr Kelly yesterday said he believed there was more to the story, and said shallow areas around the island were particularly noticeable at low tide, and believed a jetty would accommodate large catamarans, fishing and walking.
"I have swum in the holes those propellers make when they move, particularly when you have an incoming tide and they are propelling up the beach," Mr Kelly said.
"Those holes are massive, they move tonnes of sand from underneath them from the action of propeller."
"I urge our Great Keppel Island operators to work together to ensure the future of our tourism industry is sustainable," she said.
"The construction of a revetment wall on Putney Beach is critical, not just to protect our accommodation and tour operators on the island from further erosion damage, but also to avoid possible salt water intrusion to the island's fresh water aquifer.
"Since Great Keppel Island Hideaway commenced just over three years ago, four new tour operators have started business on the island (GKI Adventures, Great Keppel Cruises, Keppel Watersports, Keppel Konnections), and we now have a product that is contracted by tourism trade and being booked by overseas visitors prior to their departure from another country."
Cr Scott said council hoped to meet with the contractors on-site to discuss the detailed scope of the works, and aimed to thoroughly address any engineering or environmental concerns.
"We completely understand how important this issue is to our local residents, local tourism operators and wider community and I want to assure everyone council is actively working with stakeholders to achieve the right result," Cr Scott said.
"To be clear, there is no revetment works currently taking place on Putney Beach and there is still a number of State Government and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority approvals which need to be secured before work can proceed."
He said stakeholders were well aware of their obligations under the development approval for the proposed revetment wall, and the "last thing anyone wants to do is impact local operators".