March 4 - Work begins soon on Dunk Island erosion repair
Cassowary Coast Regional council is embarking upon a program to repair the sand erosion on Dunk Island and rejuvenate the popular camping and day-tripper destination in time for next month’s school holidays.
The spit area of the island has been in a legislative limbo as Council and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines and the Department of Environment and Science wait for its national park status to be revoked. Once revoked, it will enable the land to be designated as a reserve for which the Council is to be made trustee.
The revocation – reserve designation has followed an extensive process, which has received the Ministers’ approval. It now awaits being given effect by Governor in Council and gazettal of the decision. This is not expected to occur before April/May 2019.
Councillor Wayne Kimberley said Council works teams had continued to clean the island toilets since the expiration of the previous lease and were waiting for favourable tides this month to undertake the sand restoration work.In the meantime, a temporary pedestrian walkway had been installed to connect the jetty with the land.
Permits had been obtained through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to relocate sand from Pallon Beach at the end of the spit to the areas around the jetty and main beach, which had been badly eroded through a series of adverse weather and tide events.
“Machinery and materials have been organised for repairs to the jetty approach from March 18 with the installation of mass blocks and adjusting backfill then moving sand in accordance with the permit to repair erosion,” Cr Kimberley said.
“Obviously Council would like to start the work as soon as possible but it is dependent upon the tides.
“Other planned work includes vegetation maintenance and weed control and removal of all rubbish, including old pipes and timber etc.”
Nancy Lowe of Mission Beach Dunk Island Water Taxis said the Council had been doing a great job on Dunk and responding to issues from blocked toilets through to the sand erosion that separated the jetty from the island.
“Council put in a temporary walkway (to connect the jetty) and it did the job,” she said.
“They have been planning this replenishment for a while and needed to get the permits to move the sand. They have been really easy to work with, which has been great. We have been coinciding so that my boats will be ready after annual maintenance for March 18 when this work is due to start.
“They are going to drop a lot of money in there, which is really great because it is a tremendous asset.”
Cr Kimberley said the Council had a current lease over the spit with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (Department of Environment and Science) for the management of the land. A sub-lease between the Council and Dunk Island Resorts had lapsed some time ago.
An interim tender was sought and let to Experience Co Pty Ltd last year for lease of the land as a camping facility. Both Council and Experience Co are awaiting the national park revocation and reserve creation so that the lease arrangements can be formalised.
“In the meantime, the Council has undertaken to continue to manage the area and enable it to be used by the public with basic facilities and/or services,” Cr Kimberley said.
“The process to have the land established as a reserve under the Lands Act 1994 involved consultation between the Council and Traditional Owners of the land, as required by the State. The negotiations successfully concluded with the registration of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement on December 14, 2018.”