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August 25th 2010
Harbour rates reduced by 37%

Cr Trevor Roberts Townsville City Council has dropped the rates for Nelly Bay Harbour land owners by nearly 37% to reflect the revenue required to fund a $3million, ten year maintenance plan, following lengthy discussions with local residents.

Works include regular inspections and repairs on gross pollutant traps, rock revetment walls and the removal of silt from the harbour’s canal system and nearby Gustav Creek.

The schedule of maintenance will begin this financial year with dredging of the canal to remove a build up of silt.

Mayor Cr Les Tyrell said the operational plan would provide the first clearly defined approach to maintenance of the council controlled area of the harbour since the development was completed in 2002.

“The council has worked very closely with residents living within the harbour to develop the plan and provide certainty on the type of works that will be completed over the next 10 years,” Cr Tyrell said.

“Naturally, the council will work cooperatively with environmental agencies and other branches of government which are responsible for other elements of the harbour to ensure these works proceed each year.

“A lot of work has gone into the operational plan and no one has worked harder on getting a good outcome for the local community than Cr Trevor Roberts.”

The maintenance works will be funded by the annual special area benefit rate which is levied on properties within the harbour development.

Council yesterday approved a 36.7% concession on the rate to reflect the revenue required to fund the 10-year maintenance plan following lengthy discussions with local residents.

Cr Trevor Roberts told Magnetic Times, "The Nelly Bay Harbour residents have been concerned about the special rates they pay for years but had been unable to get the previous Townsville City Council to take any steps to investigate the matter.

"This council has conducted extenisve investigations that included an independent evaulation of the need for long term provisions related to the management of revetment walls, the water quality and the dredging in the section of the Nelly Bay Harbour for which the council is responsible."

When asked if the reduced rates would mean that other ratepayers would be expected to share the costs, Cr Roberts said, "I don't know how the original charges were set, but the investigation completed indicated that the current charges were beyond what is needed for our long term needs to manage and maintain the areas I have indicated.

"The reduction of charges for the Nelly Bay (Harbour) residents will not place any significant impost on the rate payers of the Island or the rest of the city. The residents will still be asked to cover the cost of maintaining the revetment walls, water quality and the dredgiing as part the special benefit they will continue to pay.

"It's simply a case of reduction due to adjusted charges."

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Harbour rates reduced by 37%
August 29th 2010
I don't have an argument with Council about the need to fix the sedimentation problem below the Gustav Creek bridge and I'm not about to quibble with property owners there about what rates they should or should not be paying - though others may want to take up cudgels in that matter. My particular interest is in the lengthening Council (ie. ratepayer) to-do list relating directly to the Nelly Bay harbour and its environs. Already, Council has been lumbered with resolving the State and Commonwealth-caused problem of the shoreline erosion along the Esplanade in Nelly Bay - erosion which all parties agree is directly connected to the design and location of the harbour development and the determination of the Commonwealth to maintain an opening under the Constitution Bridge. Part of that erosion control proposal involves the construction of a 70 metre long groyne or 'training wall' parallel to the existing breakwater about 30-40 metres away from it next to the bridge. Whilst I have profound reservations about this engineering proposal (and the attendant State and Commonwealth buckpassing) a more pertinent concern is that Council intends to source earth and sand for this construction, and any extensions to it, from the bed of Gustav Creek between Barton Street and Sooning Street. Much of this creek bed, especially in the lower reaches, is located entirely on State land - we now know that in a King Tide salt water (Highest Astronomical Tide) reaches the bridge at Barton Street. This section of Gustav Creek has just about reached equilibrium after a long term project (by Council) to restore its 'hydraulic capacity' after it was blocked with thousands of tonnes of sand and debris from the 1998 landslides. Only a tiny amount of 'extra' sand now remains in Gustav Creek - a demonstration of the effectiveness of the long term project which started about 2004.
Why should ratepayers be funding a project to fix a Commonwealth-administered problem on Commonwealth and State land? And why should Gustav Creek be butchered in that process? In my view it is time that the Commonwealth (maybe through GBRMPA) was drawn back onto its patch in Nelly Bay to consult with local and State authorities about integrating the so far disparate efforts to mend the ongoing damage from the harbour.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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