Seqwater about to end Borumba fishing after 8 year fight
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Future not good for Lake Borumba fish stocks
SHUTTING down the Lake Borumba Fish Stocking Association will have a significant financial impact on the small Mary Valley townships that rely on the dollars that fishos, both recreational and competitive bring to their economies.
With reference to an article in The Gympie Times on September 30, 2019, (For Fish Sake) I wish to state a few points over the potential closure of the LBFSA.
The potential closure of the association, which has been operating in the Mary Valley for the past 33 years, is being brought about by the treatment of the group by Seqwater bureaucrats determining unreasonable and inaccurate risk assessments.
At a meeting with Seqwater earlier this year, amongst other statements was the following quotes by a senior manager:
"I do not want to be standing up in the coroner's court with my house on the line because something happened on Seqwater property” and very proudly stated that he was partly responsible for the removal of 38 privately owned cabins from Moogerah Dam.
LBFSA's dispute with Seqwater has been ongoing since 2011, and revolves around two issues:
1. Risk management by Seqwater of their premises; and
2. Overnight stays at the premises by our distance members for constitutional purposes.
Seqwater is listed on our $20 million public liability policy as an interested party and the association believes that barring any unforeseeable major event and the intervention of solicitors after such an event, this argument by Seqwater is not valid.
Seqwater has identified some building reclassification issues to bring the premises up to standard to meet the current construction codes.
The LBFSA does not dispute the fact that these works need to be done for building compliance and certification.
The issue with these works is that Seqwater is now calling the premises unsafe and cancelled the overnight stays clause in the licence agreement but allowing the use of the alleged unsafe building for daytime activities and storage.
Although having been given a predetermined time frame to complete the works by Seqwater and Gympie Regional Council, Seqwater will not allow overnight stays in the interim period.
Support for the association has been provided by direct representation to the Minister, Dr Lynham MP, Department of Natural Resources and Mining, by Mark Furner MP, Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Tony Perrett MP, Member for Gympie and shadow minister for agriculture and fisheries, and Bob Fredman, GRC Division 8 Councillor.
Both the council's building and plumbing department and planning and development department have been extremely helpful with their direction and assistance in our dealings with Seqwater and their advice on the required works has been invaluable.
Dr Lynham intervened earlier this year on our behalf with an instruction to Seqwater to come to an agreeable solution to the dispute.
Following that review by Seqwater, nothing really changed other than the drawn out process of getting their approval for the required works.
Seqwater, as the building owner, appears to be hell bent on moving the goal posts in an effort for us to simply give up.
Every time we complete the construction/reclassification program for the works to the premises that they have requested (at our expense), they add to the list of demands.
This gives the perception of an ongoing effort by them to exhaust our financial resources and our member's enthusiasm.
As a result of the current situation and the uncertainty created by Seqwater, more than 50 per cent of the members did not renew their membership for the coming year.
Other members are expressing dissatisfaction with the situation we're now in and given the way things currently stand, this does not bode well for the stocking group as a whole and consequently the fish population of Lake Borumba.
As stated by Scott Kovacevic in his Gympie Times article, "in three years' time it will be hard to catch a fish - in six years' time, bring your own fish.”