ROUGH RIDE: Condamine river crossings have been impacted by 4WD tourism.
ROUGH RIDE: Condamine river crossings have been impacted by 4WD tourism. Contributed

'Yahoos destroying everything': 1700 sign gorge petition

TONY Pearson is not opposed to people having access to Cambanoora Gorge, he just doesn't want concrete culverts installed.

Mr Pearson is among 1700 people who petitioned Southern Downs Regional Council to stop the installation of 13 concrete culverts along Cambanoora Gorge, east of Killarney.

The petition, "Save Cambanoora Gorge Natural Crossings", presented last week was a combination of 502 handwritten and 1170 online signatories.

About 140 petitioners came from the Killarney district.

The petition was generated after the council engaged consultants to determine what action, if any, should be taken with regard to 14 crossings and a gully along 12km of the Cambanoora Gorge.

Consultant engineers from Kehoe Myers recommended the installation of "suitable infrastructure" at 13 crossings and at a gully.

Mr Pearson said petitioners had made many useful suggestions for alternatives to concrete culverts.

"We're not trying to stop them (council) from doing anything at all," he said.

"We've got a unique little spot here, which is somewhat protected, and we would like it to stay that way. There's not a lot of spots like this left."


Concrete culverts and gravel fill created their own problems, he said, with chemicals leeching from concrete and displaced gravel (washed away by floodwater) impacting on the environment, especially platypus and fish colonies that required deep, cold water.

The cost of culverts exceeded the economic benefit to resident cattle producers, Mr Pearson said, and advocated greater education as a means to improve outcomes with four-wheel drive visitors.


"No one wants yahoos destroying everything," he said.

While Mr Pearson was happy with 1700 signatories, some from as far away as Western Australia, he was disappointed locals were reluctant to put pen to paper, many of whom were wary of fallout from signing.