Gladstone Ports Corporation has released its draft Environmental Impact Study for the Gatcombe and Golding Cutting Channel Duplication project.
Gladstone Ports Corporation has released its draft Environmental Impact Study for the Gatcombe and Golding Cutting Channel Duplication project. CHRISSY HARRIS

Group raises concerns over GPC's future dredging project

A CONSERVATION group has demanded Gladstone Ports Corporation to prove it is serious about not causing environmental harm during future dredging works.

In its submission to GPC's draft report for the Gatcombe and Golding Cutting Channel Duplication, Gladstone Conservation Council questioned the economic need for the project, and the damage that could be done to seagrass in the harbour.

The conservation council published its submission online in a bid to encourage more residents to have their say on the project before May 23.

The project involves the duplication of the Gatcombe and Golding Cutting shipping channels to allow a two-way passage for ships entering and leaving Gladstone Port.

There would be 12.85 million cubic metres of seabed dredged to deepen and widen the channels to about 16m deep and 200 metres wide. The channels would be 15km long.

As part of the project the Western Basin reclamation area would be expanded, where the sediment would be placed.

The EIS said the project had potential to impact water quality, seagrass, some reefs, migratory shorebirds, marine turtles, commercial and recreational fishers and residents who live nearby at Facing Island.

The conservation council said the process was an "unnecessary waste of resources", because there was no immediate requirement for dredging.

"When does the loss of seagrass habitat stop? When 25%; 50% or 100% is gone for reclamation/development?," the submission said.

"The claim that GPC "has a good environmental record" is laughable.

"The community expects that GPC has learned from its mistakes and will be conducting the dredging in a different manner.

"For instance, the bund wall design is very similar, and while GPC intends to supervise the construction more closely, it may be that the fundamentals of the design need to be changed."

Acting chief executive Craig Walker said early last year the port's ability for economic growth would be "significantly impacted and hindered" without widening the two channels.

The draft EIS is available on GPC's website.

Gladstone Conservation Council's submission to the EIS is available on its website and Facbeook.