Concerns have been raised over the water quality of Moneys Creek and the lagoon in Bargara.
Concerns have been raised over the water quality of Moneys Creek and the lagoon in Bargara.

Moneys Creek saga: Golf club board calls for govt action

BARGARA Golf Club issued a statement to its members describing Moneys Creek as an “environmental embarrassment”.

The club’s general manager Ian Witt published an email on Tuesday afternoon, which contained 10-year old reports explaining that regular fish deaths and algae blooms in the lagoon were caused by limited tidal flushes.

A causeway built 50-years ago impacted on water quality in the lagoon which was owned by the golf club, according to a report from 2009.

The board said it paid about $8500 a year in rates for the area covering the lagoon and the salt pan areas.

But it had no control over the water considering that the council controlled the causeway gates.

“This is extremely unusual in Queensland where such lagoons are usually owned and administrated by the State or Local Governments,” members were told.

An artist's version of the Bargara Golf Club's proposal for Moneys Creek which is about 10 years old.
An artist's version of the Bargara Golf Club's proposal for Moneys Creek which is about 10 years old.

“From the board’s perspective, it is bizarre that the club pays rates over an area where it has no control, while the State and Local Governments, who are the usual owners of such areas, dodge responsibility and refuse to undertake remedial works.”

The golf club said it was time for the problem to be fixed.

It urged the Bundaberg Regional Council to allocate funding in its next budget to dredge the lake to the depth that it had before the causeway was built in 1968.

“By working together with the community and Council, a positive outcome is possible in the near future, rather than the current environmental embarrassment,” the statement said.

The club’s president Janine Smith recently told the NewsMail dredging would cost more money than the golf club could afford.

“My feelings are that the golf club didn’t cause the problem,” she said.

“This year it’s started happening a lot earlier, it is really hard to see.

“It’s just going to keep happening, they might put water through it and the fish might stay alive again, but then come January or February with the heat it will happen again.”

The club provided sections of a water quality assessment commissioned by Moneys Creek Rehabilitation Group in 2009.

It said replacing the causeway with a bridge would be expensive and would risk the golf course being flooded.

Council’s decision

BUNDABERG deputy mayor Bill Trevor said the council should wait for the release of a report commissioned by Burnett Mary Regional Group before it tries fixing Moneys Creek.

In yesterday’s ordinary council meeting, he argued against supporting Cr Greg Barnes’ proposal for the creation of another committee dedicated to solving the quality of the Bargara waterway, which has had frequent fish deaths.

And Cr Trevor offered a counter-motion which other councillors voted for instead, which was to meet with BMRG in late January or February to discuss recommendations in the report completed by Alluvium Consulting.

“I am quite happy to put my hand up for council to put funding in to solve this problem once and for all,” Cr Trevor said.

“As I have said in the boardroom and around this table many times over the last four years, I don’t want to see this council in a situation where we look at things, put them on a shelf...without realistic outcomes.

“It would be a waste of ratepayers money to go down a parallel track when the state government has already put funding into the BMRG.”

Cr Trevor said the council was already part of a working group.

A new group would be limited to doing anything in the lead-up to the local government election in March, he said.

It would be up to the next council to determine if funding should be allocated in the next budget for Moneys Ck, he said.

Cr Barnes said the council needed to take leadership and address the problem now, which is why he moved the original motion for a new committee to investigate and make recommendations for the upper part of the Moneys Creek catchment.

He removed any suggestion in the motion that suggested that he become the committee chairman.

Local political observers might be surprised to learn his only ally among the councillors in this issue was Helen Blackburn, who had seconded his defeated motion.

Cr Barnes said the BMRG report would not address the limited oxygen in Moneys Creek, although Mayor Jack Dempsey disagreed.

“BMRG is to be commended but it will not address all the remedial issues that will save the lagoon from being a mud flat with the associated environmental impacts,” Cr Barnes said.

“It is imperative to lay the foundations for a successful outcome on this issue including the ongoing benefit for our community.”

Cr Barnes said warm weather and drought had contributed to numerous fish dying in the lagoon. He said there will likely be more fish dying as the weather becomes hotter.