It was over three weeks ago that I wrote about Steve Posselt’s kayaking crusade to highlight the stupidity of the planned Traveston Dam on the Mary River. On April 12th, he started his month long journey kayaking up the Brisbane River, down the Mary River and back down to Brisbane.
He’s now paddling his way back down the coast, having reached Noosa on the weekend and now heading into the Pumicestone Passage between Bribie Island and the mainland. You can read his daily progress reports here – each day’s entry contains lots of photos. Maybe it’s my Brisbane bias, but I found his reports on the Brisbane River as interesting as those about the Mary. I guess the impenetrable hyacinth waterweed mats take on much more significance when you’re trying to paddle through them, but apart from the wider environmental damage, they’re also significant because these weeds consume so much water.
For other photos of the area of the Mary River that will be drowned by the dam, you can also check out this site to see what might soon be flooded for ever. Of course, the damage to the river will not just be in the areas that are flooded, but also downstream, where it flows into the world heritage Great Sandy Strait.
Steve’s kayaking journey finished back in Brisbane this coming Saturday. DETAILS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST.
In the meantime, I see that the Queensland Opposition has released a new water policy for south-east Queensland. Not surprisingly, it rejects the Traveston Dam, and understandably the Save the Mary River group have supported it. A desalination plant is certainly better than a dam, at least in regards to reliability of water supply, environmental damage and also – at least when contrasted with Traveston Dam – in energy usage. Unfortunately, according to the media reports (I couldn’t find details of the policy on the Coalition parties’ websites), it also rules out putting recycled water back into our existing water supplies, which is better than both desalination and dams, so it looks like another policy driven by short term politics, and a case of one step forward and half a step back.
It seems that the decision on whether the dam will be stopped will rest with federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett. I’ve never been too keen on taking the easy ‘sell out’ shots on Peter Garrett just because he signed up to the Labor Party. I figure that having people of his calibre and record inside a major party is not a bad thing. I also recognise that being part of government does impose constraints that are not there when you’re in a smaller party. However, that sort of leeway only goes so far, and this decision really is a watershed one. It is SO clear the Traveston Dam is highly destructive to the environment. Given that it is also unnecessary, indeed undesirable just from a water policy point of view, it would be a serious failure if Mr Garrett gave it the go ahead, when he clearly has the legal power to stop it under federal law.
Steve Posselt, the marathon cross country kayaker, will paddle up the Brisbane River past Southbank at 11.30am Saturday 10th May arriving at the West End boat ramp at noon. A good vantage point for viewing Steve and the crowd will be Victoria Bridge.
The West End boat ramp is where the trip started at noon on 12th April. It is in Riverside Drive between Jane and Boundary Streets, West End.
Welcoming him home along the Southbank boardwalk will be a host of people he has met on the way who are passionate about the Mary River and the Great Sandy Straits.
They include Save The Mary River Group and the Greater Mary Association.
Steve has paddled and dragged his wheeled kayak up the Brisbane River, over the Conondale Ranges, down the Mary River and back to Brisbane via the Great Sandy Straits and the Pacific Ocean.
He has viewed the river systems like no other and has done this through the eyes of a civil engineer who has been in the water industry since 1971.
He says Brisbane people need to know that water restrictions were a result of planning failure, that in 1993 they could be foreseen, that Traveston Crossing Dam is the worst option the Queensland Water Commission can take as it will not give Brisbane the water it needs and it will be condemned by future generations for its cost to the future wealth of South East Queensland.
Further details www.kayak4earth.com