Marina plans alive in the Bay
THE long-dormant Fraser Coast Marina project, widely seen as a significant threat to Tin Can Bay dolphin feeding, has come back to life and is in the final stages of federal environmental assessment.
With public comment now closed, the project's "final preliminary documentation" downplays the likely effect on dolphin feeding, which occurs almost in the middle of the planned development.
It claims the pod linked to feeding "does not typically enter Snapper Creek," even though that is where feeding takes place almost every day.
But the claim is qualified by information elsewhere that the "pod" referred to is a larger group which "includes individuals which enter the boat harbour to be hand fed".
The documents' release comes only two days after an intimidating visit by pro-marina Queensland Transport officials who allegedly threatened to shut down the feeding and the passenger operations of the separate Dolphin Ferry from Rainbow Beach.
That drama was only two days after feeding was pronounced permanently legal by Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell.
The marina won state approval under Beattie and Bligh governments.
Speaking from Canberra yesterday, a spokeswoman told The Gympie Times a decision was probable in mid to late June, after the current information period to June 7.
The Labor-backed Fraser Coast marina plan at Snapper Creek will reach its moment of truth within weeks, according to the federal Environment Department.
The project has increasingly divided Tin Can Bay over the 10 years since it was first the subject of council-government talks, attracting passionate support and opposition within the small coastal community.
In submissions to Canberra, opponents have criticised possible effects on marine traffic and acid pollution of Tin Can inlet, as well as claiming it will probably end the Bay's unique dolphin feeding institution, which is claimed to attract thousands of visitors a year, with many of them staying at least one night in local accommodation.
Marina proponent, the Seymour Group, says there is no such danger and that the marina layout "allows for continuation of dolphin feeding.
"There would be limited construction at the location where the feeding is carried out and given the typical timing of the dolphin visits, there will be opportunities to schedule activities (to) minimise disturbance," it says.
The proponent points out that where comparable activities, including construction, have previously caused the dolphins to refrain from coming in, sometimes for several days, they have always come back.
The Tin Can Bay Chamber of Commerce and Tourism has backed the plan, with president Kev Reibel saying economic benefits would mean more employment.
Opponent, Save Our Shores spokesman Ian Donald said boats would be vulnerable in storms, with half-metre waves in some conditions.
Final documents on display until June 7.
Gympie Regional Council Planning and Development office.
Tin Can Bay library. State Library, Brisbane.