Please Councillors don’t wreck our Foreshore

November 1st, 2014

Once upon a time there were some wise men and women who realised that the valuable Hervey Bay foreshore needed some help. This beautiful, natural and absolutely precious coastline was vulnerable. It was vulnerable to the ravages of nature and to the greed of humans.

These wise people knew that the Hervey Bay foreshore was unique. These was no other stretch of safe and beautiful North facing beach to equal the strip between Urangan and Pt Vernon anywhere to be found. In their wisdom they decided to do two things. Firstly they decided to absolutely limit commercial development and building on the North side of The Esplanade and secondly to restore and enhance the existing vegetation that naturally grew on the sandy dunes.

These decisions were implemented and the Hervey Bay foreshore became a place that inspired people. Some of us visited, immediately fell in love with this coastal city and became its citizens. Tourists came and saw and many now return year after year after year. For many many years the Hervey Bay City Councillors held steadfast. They knew that improved views could be gained by removing vegetation but they also knew that the cost of views was too high a price to pay.

Sadly there came a time when the Hervey Bay City Council was no more. Amalgamation came and initially nothing changed. The original Fraser Coast Councillors stood strong and retained our precious foreshore. But in 2012 a totally new bunch of Councillors came to sit and judge.

This Council, under the leadership of the pro development Maryborough based Mayor, quickly decided the foreshore needed cleaning and tidying up. They didn’t bother asking any of us how we felt. They just adopted new plans and started chopping, digging and tidying. Gone were the cottonwoods. Gone were the native ground covers. Gone were the lower branches of the few cottonwoods that survived the chop. Suddenly we had views. Beautiful glorious views of sparkling blue waters. I think all of us enjoyed these improved views but many of us worried that we had witnessed a chop too far!

Soon the summer Northerlies returned. The winds blew and the sand went South. Nobody could comfortably sit on our newly exposed park benches and picnic areas on a windy day. Even the cafes across the road became less comfortable places to dine. Then the storms came and trees, facilities and infrastructure were frighteningly exposed. The foreshore was undermined and had to be quickly saved. Sand was replaced at considerable cost.

Now another summer is upon us and yet more clearing has been done. More clearing is planned. I worry that this Council will continue to clear the foreshore of every bit of vegetation that blocks a view. To what cost I can’t imagine.

Our foreshore was home to much flora and fauna. When you strolled along the beach the trees and plants sheltered you from the wind, road noise and the sight of the buildings. You could easily believe you were no where near a big city. When cycling or walking along the pathway you could always see the sea because there were plenty of gaps and clear spaces where the sea could be seen. You see the views were there all the time. You just had to get out of your car to see them!

I firmly believe that our treed and natural foreshore made us unique. People came to holiday here and live here because of this natural beauty. To remove the vegetation and plant grass and put in yet another playground makes us no different from any other coastal city. Why will anyone come to Hervey Bay if we have nothing unique and special?

Yes to compromise. After all the length of our foreshore enables us to compromise. Yes to some tidying up in the high profile highly developed park areas. At the commercial areas of Scarness, Torquay and Urangan yes to some good views and less vegetation. These areas can be protected via rock walls or other infrastructure. But please, please, please retain and replenish the dunes along the rest of the foreshore. Yes to keeping it ‘looking’ tidy. Yes to garden beds, edging and other methods that make this natural wonderland aesthetically pleasing to those of you that like your nature presented ‘neatly’.

But whatever else we do we must protect this fragile natural skinny wonderland. It sets us apart. Makes us unique. Where else can you find sheltered and shady beautiful safe beaches? It isn’t too late. Please, please, please listen to our elderly wise citizens and save our foreshore. It is too beautiful and precious to lose. Please stop killing the trees. Our future is in your hands!

One Response to “Please Councillors don’t wreck our Foreshore”

  1. Jannean Deanon 02 Nov 2014 at 10:22 pm

    I would love to see you heading up Council Sue. Hervey Nay would shine

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