DERM clears way for causeway fix
THE State Government has withdrawn its environmental objections to one farmer's vitally important part of the Gympie region flood reconstruction effort.
Tansey lucerne and dairy farmer Kel Stanton told The Gympie Times a few weeks ago of his problems with the Department of Environment and Resource Management, which had imposed environmental requirements on the planned reconstruction of a causeway across Nangur Ck.
It was a causeway that had been there for decades but was washed away in last January's floods.
Mr Stanton, is still recovering from the financial damage of a 100% loss of his lucerne harvest. It was waterlogged by a rampaging flood fed from one of the major rain systems that developed over Queensland.
Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett said the causeway had been washed away and needed to be replaced, because of its importance to Mr Stanton's farming operation.
"This country got terribly wet," Cr Perrett said at the time.
"This road is on the list," he said, referring to Margoo Rd, which runs through Mr Stanton's property and which crosses Nangur Ck, via the small causeway.
"But the causeway needs a DERM permit and approved fish access," he said at the time.
He said there were 63 roads in the latest Gympie Regional Council application for reconstruction funds.
"The causeway was washed clean away and what we have now is a temporary access only," Mr Stanton said, indicating the sharp gravel crossing which is in place temporarily.
Mr Stanton said the region had been lucky not to have received the same rains as those that hit Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley.
"If it had landed on Goomeri, it would have washed away a lot of the shops in the main street.
"They got five inches in one night. If they'd got the 12 inches that fell on the other side of the mountains, we'd have had a real disaster."
Mr Stanton was not alone in losing his lucerne crop and having to rely on dairying to keep going.
He fed his cattle on wet hay and rotting silage while they huddled on the hilltop near his house.
Cr Perrett said the Queensland Reconstruction Authority had intervened and DERM has made at least one part of the recovery a little easier for Mr Stanton.
The department had now withdrawn its environmental assessment requirements, allowing the causeway to be fixed.