Fantastic “Floatilla” as Battle for the Mary enters its Fourth Year.


 In the biggest “floatilla” yet, well over a hundred kayaks, canoes and other craft took to the Mary today to mark three years since the announcement of the Traveston Crossing Dam proposal. For a community that Government sources claim is starting to accept a dam, Mary Valley residents and others were showing no sign of it today.

ArkinFloatilla09
 
“Today we’re celebrating the resilience of our community and the wider community,” says Save the Mary River Coordinating Group President Glenda Pickersgill. “We’re celebrating that we have dug our heels in and mounted a very strong case against damming this river.”
 
“Peter Beattie may have called this river ‘hardly pristine’ and Anna Bligh may say it’s been damaged by farming, yet both statements come with a ring of deja-vu. In Tasmania, in the battle to save the Franklin, the then-Premier called it a “leech-ridden ditch, while none less than Harry Butler expressed the learned opinion that the area wasn’t really wilderness. The real test of these dismissive assessments of the Mary has to be what lives in there now and with a number of unique species, this is pretty impressive. International turtle experts are even coming to regard the Mary as ‘ the turtle river’.
 
The truth is that the dam presently proposed is much smaller than Peter Beattie originally envisaged. When it became apparent that it would require federal EPBC approval, the proposal was split into two stages. This means that the yield of the proposed Stage 1 is less than a third of the original proposal while the costs to build it have more than doubled.
 
This was the third “floatilla” on the river, and was the biggest yet. After the first, in 2006, Greens Senator Bob Brown told opponents to be prepared for a long battle. When he visited the area in 2007, Roberto Epple of the European Rivers Network said to expect maybe a seven-year battle. From the looks of it, both pieces of advice have been well-heeded. Today’s celebration was well-organised and well-attended. Participants were entertained by a string of musicians, poets and speakers.
 
Dam opponents heard today of a ‘milestone’ legal challenge to the Paradise Dam fishway which will be heard in the Federal Court in September. The case, mounted by the Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council and a coalition of Environment groups is significant as the Paradise fishway is intended as the model for use on Traveston Dam should it go ahead.
 
“We’ve already won this on the science,” says Glenda, “and it’s defeating itself on the economics. Sometime soon the penny will drop for this government and they’ll realize they can’t cry poor to nurses and teachers and public servants wanting better, fairer, conditions while they pour more money into the black hole that is the Traveston Crossing Dam proposal.”
 
 

 In the biggest “floatilla” yet, well over a hundred kayaks, canoes and other craft took to the Mary today to mark three years since the announcement of the Traveston Crossing Dam proposal. For a community that Government sources claim is starting to accept a dam, Mary Valley residents and others were showing no sign of it today.

ArkinFloatilla09
 
“Today we’re celebrating the resilience of our community and the wider community,” says Save the Mary River Coordinating Group President Glenda Pickersgill. “We’re celebrating that we have dug our heels in and mounted a very strong case against damming this river.”
 
“Peter Beattie may have called this river ‘hardly pristine’ and Anna Bligh may say it’s been damaged by farming, yet both statements come with a ring of deja-vu. In Tasmania, in the battle to save the Franklin, the then-Premier called it a “leech-ridden ditch, while none less than Harry Butler expressed the learned opinion that the area wasn’t really wilderness. The real test of these dismissive assessments of the Mary has to be what lives in there now and with a number of unique species, this is pretty impressive. International turtle experts are even coming to regard the Mary as ‘ the turtle river’.
 
The truth is that the dam presently proposed is much smaller than Peter Beattie originally envisaged. When it became apparent that it would require federal EPBC approval, the proposal was split into two stages. This means that the yield of the proposed Stage 1 is less than a third of the original proposal while the costs to build it have more than doubled.
 
This was the third “floatilla” on the river, and was the biggest yet. After the first, in 2006, Greens Senator Bob Brown told opponents to be prepared for a long battle. When he visited the area in 2007, Roberto Epple of the European Rivers Network said to expect maybe a seven-year battle. From the looks of it, both pieces of advice have been well-heeded. Today’s celebration was well-organised and well-attended. Participants were entertained by a string of musicians, poets and speakers.
 
Dam opponents heard today of a ‘milestone’ legal challenge to the Paradise Dam fishway which will be heard in the Federal Court in September. The case, mounted by the Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council and a coalition of Environment groups is significant as the Paradise fishway is intended as the model for use on Traveston Dam should it go ahead.
 
“We’ve already won this on the science,” says Glenda, “and it’s defeating itself on the economics. Sometime soon the penny will drop for this government and they’ll realize they can’t cry poor to nurses and teachers and public servants wanting better, fairer, conditions while they pour more money into the black hole that is the Traveston Crossing Dam proposal.”