LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Pictured above: Alma Creek mouth after a big event and before the current catchment increase
DOWN THE DRAIN TO ALMA BAY
As raised at the recent MIRRA meeting, Arcadia Coastcare is concerned about Council redirecting urban stormwater into Alma Bay.
Arcadia Coastcare is a community volunteer group looking after natural areas on public land at Arcadia with approval from Council & National Parks. Our first activity was in 1995, removing weeds in the Alma Creek council reserve directly upstream of Alma Bay. The area was originally a healthy mangrove creek but was cleared by Council and turned into drain in 1970.
Now more big changes are being made by Council, diverting the nearby urban catchment into Alma Creek and Bay, and apparently without any means to slow or treat this extra stormwater run-off.
We understand that people don’t want their property flooded and that more sealed surfaces are producing more run-off, but we have the following concerns:
Increased stormwater will enter the creek directly opposite our approved restoration areas and will wash them away or require their removal
Increased flows will erode the footbridge and known turtle nesting habitat at the creek mouth
Urban stormwater flowing into Alma Bay will degrade water quality in the island's most popular swimming beach and Marine National Park green zone
There's no alignment between the drainage works and Council’s Arcadia Catchment Management Strategy or Magnetic Island Catchment Story (see www.arcadiacoastcare.com.au/landscape), both of which were funded by state government and developed with community input.
Our ask is that Council please acknowledge the environmental values of Alma Creek & its relationship with Alma Bay water quality and World Heritage values, and that Council commits to work with Coastcare & community groups on a strategic plan that ensures future works maintain and, wherever possible, restore identified environmental values at Alma Creek and Bay.
Arcadia Coastcare has contacted Council to request working together to identify win-win solutions that minimise impacts to both private property and receiving waterways. Although there’s been no response to date, there’s significant investment occurring elsewhere in North Queensland to improve water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef, so we remain hopeful of a breakthrough for our favourite swimming bay.
Arcadia Coastcare member