Magnetic Island North Queensland
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April 19th 2013
Invite to talk about Port Expansion Project EIS

Magnetic Times apologises for the late inclusion of this important notice which occurred due to a communication problem. However, the meeting, which is planned for tomorrow morning at the Nelly Bay Ferry Terminal, will be of great interest and importance to all readers interested in the plans for the Port's expansion and its implications for Magnetic Island.


Invite to talk about Port Expansion Project EIS
 
4 comments
 
Lorna Hempstead
April 18th 2013
I encourage all island residents and businesses to ask questions about the dredge soil dumping site in Cleveland Bay,(both initial and maintenance) how the spoil will be contained, and how we can be assured that fine silt will not slowly move with the currents to further degrade our east facing beaches and areas of coral cover and seagrass. Both Nelly and Geoffrey Bays now have snorkel trails with the opportunity to expand on these, Alma Bay is the location for much recreational dive training, and Arthur and Florence are terrific snorkelling beaches too. Any degredation will impact on tourism, residents amenity and scientific activity and student training.
 
Rick Braley
April 18th 2013
Most important that individuals write even a short paragraph on their concerns about the proposed development. Today there are 700 ships visiting Tvll. Port per year, by 2040 it is predicted there may be 1300 and the draft of the newer ships will be deeper. The most damaging effect on our coral reef community around Magnetic Island will be due to increased dredging / deepening of the platypus and sea channels. The Fine sediments that cause the plume behind the dredge is the most damaging as it is not contained in any way. Dumping of the spoils also requires the safest site so it is not constantly re-suspended the the worst problem for the coral reef community is the fine sediments.
 
wendy Tubman
April 19th 2013
Townsville Port was established back in the 1800s to cater for small ships doing local and regional runs. Back then, no-one imagined the size and scale of ships that would come. This shallow area adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef is just not suitable for the massive, international behemoths that ply the oceans these days. Keep in mind that the construction of this expanded port would include deepening and lengthening the Platypus/Sea channel by 2.7 km right along the Island's east coast. It would involve 9.9 million cubic metres of dredged material. Plans are to dump 5.6 million cubic metres of that in the ocean, about halfway between Cape Cleveland and Magnetic Island. (The rest will be used to create new land around the new outer harbour extending a kilometre into the bay.) The material to be dumped is described as 'highly re-suspendible'. The regular maintenance dredging would need to be greatly expanded to cope with the increased size. Would the Island be subject to permanent turbid water?
 
chasmac
April 20th 2013
As a precursor to the 1993 capital dredging program the Port Authority published a number of papers outlining the results of various research studies into the issues likely to be arising. One of those papers about reactive monitoring (short term responses) of coral species (Stafford-Smith, Kaly and Choat) made a number of observations about the capacity to respond to episodes of observed coral stress being caused by the dredging - obtained from experience of previous dredging. A quote (p.49):
"In the period leading up to observed episodes of coral stress the dredge was active in the extension to the channel, working close to Nelly and Geoffrey Bays, while tidal and wind driven circulation in Cleveland Bay tended to carry dredge and (ocean) dump plume material towards Florence and Arthur Bays. Sediment plumes were recorded entering both Geoffrey and Florence Bay in Week 3, but by Week 4 any plumes were indistinguishable as the entire region became turbid."
Later in the same paper:
"4.3 Cause of Stress in Geoffrey and Florence Bays.
Plumes of sediment surrounding the dredge and leading from the spoil dump towards the northern tip of Magnetic Island were recorded in aerial photographs on several occasions during the course of the dredging program (Raaymakers, pers. comm). The dredge was working predominately in a high risk area for Florence and Geoffrey Bays during the critical period leading up to observed stress in Acropora latistella. Thus the potential for increased turbidity and sedimentation from the dredge was present at this time".
The proposed new lengthening and deepening program will be even closer to Magnetic Island, especially Florence Bay and will involve greatly increased quantities of sea -dumped material and, on all the evidence so far presented, will impact even more than the already well-described events of 1993. Nelly Bay has had further insults visited upon it in the interim - a couple of flooding events in the half-constructed Nelly Bay harbour and open quarry on Bright Point, and the extensive sedimentation arising from the unprotected excavation and later widening of the NB harbour ferry access channel about 2001. Those sediments, lying just offshore, are still regularly disturbed by wave action and can be seen moving across the reef flat.
There is no doubt that the coming conflagration will make the 1990s seem like a curtain raiser.


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