Long-awaited dredging date on horizon for Boyne River
IT'S been more than 20 years in the making but dredging at the Boyne River mouth is due to be finished in time for the Boyne Tannum HookUp.
The annual event, Australia's biggest family fishing competition, is set for May 4-6.
Gladstone Ports Corporation chief executive officer Peter O'Sullivan said tenderers for the dredging project would be announced shortly with work due to begin during the first quarter of next year.
"We anticipate the project will be approved some time around December or January. We should be in a position to start in the first quarter of the new year and be finished in time for Easter," Mr O'Sullivan said.
"Plans are definitely in place to be finished before the Boyne Tannum HookUp."
The dredging project requires the removal of approximately 12,000m3 of sediment across a 15-metre wide channel, stretching approximately 900m, which has built up in the river mouth since 2011.
Mr O'Sullivan said a feasibility study had been completed and all parties involved were onboard with the project.
"We talked to the Gladstone community, boating community and people who have lived in the area for a long time," he said.
"One of the key things they're looking for is safe access into the (Gladstone) harbour and safe access into the Boyne River, so that's our priority.
"We're also making sure, and the reasons we're taking time to assess the material and environmental impacts, is so we can undertake the works in a way that minimises any environmental impacts so the people of Boyne can be assured we'll maintain the pristine environment that the Boyne River enjoys today."
Water depth will also improve conditions at the river mouth, making it easier for various sized boats to navigate an often treacherous channel of water.
"At the moment we're looking to dredge between 0.5-1m below LAT (lowest astronomical tide), so that means that even on the lowest tide there will be a half to one-metre clearance," Mr O'Sullivan said.
"Once you add the tides around Gladstone of between four to five metres, that should allow a reasonable size boat to come in and out most of the time and the larger boats will be able to plan their entries and exits in a safe manner."
The State Government has allocated $1.5 million for the channel clearing.