“We treasure our environment”. That is one of five themes MidCoast Council gleaned from community consultation as it worked to craft a singular identity from the three former local government areas.
It’s a theme that “will now be used to used to frame our community's objectives and strategies that will be captured in the Community Strategic Plan,” according to MidCoast Council. It will also provide “a way for council to be accountable to the community and the NSW government by reporting annually on how implementation is progressing.”
That’s good to know, accountability is important, and we think Farquhar Inlet may sit high on the list of things people treasure about our environment if community reaction to stories about its management is used as a measure.
The October 11 story and photo revealing the mouth of the Manning River at Farquhar Inlet is choked with sand shoals evoked strong community response, questions about its management and appeals for it to be dredged.
It’s not a new problem, indeed the community rallied to try to manage the shifting sands by forming the Farquhar Inlet Management Group and the group raised funds to buy and refurbish a dredge. The dredge worked for about five years and conducted numerous operations at the mouth of the Manning River at Farquhar Inlet and Harrington. It’s now on the market as “it’s done its job of bringing the need for dredging to the attention of council and the State government,” says FIMG vice-president Greg Crisp.
This week council waded into the conversation about river management with project manager of planning and natural systems, Andrew Staniland, seeking to reassure the community saying the closure was a natural process, it won’t be the last time it will happen, and adding that it is proving to be an “environmental bonanza” for wildlife. Council is monitoring water quality in the catchment and Mr Staniland says it will enact an Entrance Opening Strategy when triggers are met. Click here to read the story.
Looking to community comment it is clear opinion is divided as to how to manage the shifting sand – little information is available to help people understand the natural systems, or council’s plan to manage it and the implementation and accountability mechanisms in place.
The Times will now focus on this issue in coming weeks to help educate our community about this environmental treasure and its management.