Underwater survey approved to progress safety at Lake Tinaroo

11 Jan 2018

Efforts to improve the safety of Lake Tinaroo for recreational users are progressing, with an underwater survey approved by SunWater that could extend areas gazetted for high-speed boating.

The survey was approved in light of the growing safety risk caused by trees as the lake level falls. Additionally, Maritime Safety Queensland has today announced a reduced to the speed limit of Lake Tinaroo to 6 knots for all boating activities.

The locally formed Tinaroo Safety Reference Group, chaired by dam owner SunWater, met in Mareeba in December to discuss recent tree clearing trials and to explore alternative options for improving the safety for high-speed boating for now and into the future.

SunWater General Manager North Mr Travis Richards said the ongoing issue of boating safety at Lake Tinaroo has been a challenge, to ensure all stakeholder interests are considered and the latest proposal for an underwater survey is a promising solution.

“For MSQ to consider a speed restriction change in a gazetted area we must first supply hard data to prove the area is clear of hazards, and this survey will provide us that information. Subject to a positive survey result, SunWater will apply to MSQ to have the area gazetted to allow speeds greater than the 6 knot limit,” he said.

Mr Richards said that in response to suggestions from different recreation groups, SunWater is also pursuing this option for other areas of the Lake.

“The intention is to map a number of areas of the Lake to better understand what hazards exist and prioritise those hazards that we can mark or remove that will have the greatest safety outcome. This will include hazards that are currently above the water line so we know their location when the lake level rises.”

“There are a lot of different interest groups that use the Lake for different purposes, however we have all agreed that safety is the priority. Any action to improve safety must not create further hazards, significantly impact fish habitat or cause unnecessary damage to the rich cultural heritage of the area,” Mr Richards said.

The strategy to conduct an underwater survey of a 210ha area near the dam wall was initially suggested by the Tinaroo Sailing Club.  The survey will commence in early 2018 with funding committed from the Tinaroo Sailing Club, SunWater, Tinaroo Caravan Park, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and the Tinaroo Resort.

Despite efforts to improve safety, Mr Richards said SunWater is concerned illegal tree clearing is still underway and that this can cause safety and environmental concerns.

“It is illegal for people to be clearing trees or stumps on SunWater property and anyone found doing so will be reported to police. Any safety benefit will be compromised if people illegally clear areas of the Lake,” he said.

Any members of the public who notice suspicious or illegal behaviour at Lake Tinaroo, including tree clearing, are urged to contact SunWater on 13 15 89.

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