David Paton, Paula Hamond, Lis Paton celebrate.
David Paton, Paula Hamond, Lis Paton celebrate. Renee Pilcher

Mary Valley still healing

A YEAR ago today, Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett answered the prayers of the Mary Valley people at a press conference in Brisbane.

His decision to scrap the Bligh Government’s proposed Traveston Crossing Dam released a wave of emotion across the Mary Valley.

Since then, a lot of Mary River water has flowed under the Traveston Crossing Bridge ... river saviour Peter Garrett is no longer the Federal Environment Minister and the Mary Valley and its people are still struggling to recover from a three and a half year battle to save the Mary River from the Queensland Government.

Anti Dam campaigner Glenda Pickersgill spoke to The Gympie Times yesterday and said one year on from Peter Garrett’s history making decision, the Mary Valley was still rebuilding from three and a half years of hell.

She said there was still a “sense of relief” in the community that they had won the battle to save the river and its many endangered inhabitants, but added that people were still recuperating from the loss of community in the valley.

“We are still not back to normal in the valley,” Ms Pickersgill said.

Government buy ups of proposed dam land saw a lot of people leave the region and not come back, but Mrs Pickersgill said there were some positive signs on the horizon for the Mary Valley.

A new economic plan formulated for the area is one of those lights and if things work out Ms Pickersgill says, there could be some exciting opportunities to come out of the valley.

“The community still needs to work hard to look after the valley,” Ms Pickersgill said.

Today the Mary Valley community is inviting people to come along for a swim at Traveston Crossing at 4.30pm followed by a few celebratory drinks at the Kandanga Hotel to mark the anniversary of the Peter Garrett’s rejection of the Traveston Crossing dam.

The main celebrations will be incorporated into the Mary River Festival this Saturday at the Kandanga Recreation Grounds.

The Festival, in its third year, will recognise the importance of the Mary River.

Performances will start at noon and finish around with 8pm.

Gympie Times


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