Our 'toxic heritage' needs work

IF you have always wanted a toxic, dangerous, dilapidated, contaminated wreck of a deathtrap building, the good news is that you may soon inherit one.

But, "thanks a lot, Mum and Dad" is hardly what you would find yourself saying if you were to inspect this particular proposed addition to the shared inheritance of all Queenslanders.

Spring Valley Dip, a structure that would lead to your prosecution if you built it yourself (especially if you invited the public to visit), is apparently all ours if we want it.

Gympie Regional Council is currently resisting State Government moves to have us pay for safety improvements associated with plans to list it on the state's Heritage Register.

But even with improvements, the site would remain dangerous, according to the council's Planning Committee chairman Ian Petersen.

"I have no objection to it being heritage-listed," Cr Petersen said on-site yesterday.

"But I think it should be made safe and I do not think it should be at the expense of ratepayers, when it's on state government land."

One proposed safety improvement is a non-heritage steel grate to stop people falling into the potentially toxic water in the 1m deep concrete-lined pit, once used to poison ticks and parasites on cattle bound for the Gympie saleyards.

No safety improvements have been proposed for the rotting timber and iron structure or the far from childproof fences that surround it.

Some sections of the "heritage" log and split rail fence are on such a lean that gates have to be lifted against gravity to open them.

Cr Petersen says the Department of Environment and Resource Management has rejected a proposal to fill the pit with roadbase.

"I don't know why you'd want to encourage people to come to a site like that.

"It's a hazardous site and a contaminated site.

"There's a lot of history in there and I think it's great, but I don't want our ratepayers to be picking up the bill."

Committee members this week recommended the council offer to relinquish its trusteeship of the land, handing it back to DERM so that, as one councillor said, "they can do what they want with it."

Gympie Times

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