NO BARRAGE: Retired Fisherman John Olsen is against the Ben Anderson Barrage. Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail
NO BARRAGE: Retired Fisherman John Olsen is against the Ben Anderson Barrage. Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail Scottie Simmonds

Barrage blamed for causing Burnett River to rise

BUNDABERG residents are calling for serious action on the Ben Anderson barrage, blaming it for rising Burnett River levels.

Retired fisherman John Olsen said the barrage was a token to "human stupidity, had contributed to the recent floods and needed to be demolished.

"When you get a dry spell, year after year there is silt built up, then when you get a major flood, there's 10 times the amount of build-up going down the river," he said.

Mr Anderson said silt had decreased the depth of the Burnett River, making the water sit above the silt layer.

"The barrage causes a rise in river beyond the natural level," he said.

"The water has to run at a high level because it can't fit in the river stream anymore."

The retired fisherman said Paradise Dam was sufficient water storage.

"Both the Kolan and the Ben Anderson Barrage should go, there's no need to have extra storage when you have such big dams," he said.

"It's obvious that we don't need that extra water coming down."

Mr Olsen said the barrage had negative ecological effects.

"It's widely recognised in science that the Ben Anderson barrage has had a big impact on fish and grass species," he said.

Mr Olsen believed the barrage needed to be demolished.

"Maybe leave 20% of the barrage as a monument to our stupidity in the past," he said.

Bundaberg resident Dan Mahoney grew up on the Burnett River and said he too had watched the river slowly die.

"There's a lot of silt built up in the river now; growing up beside the river, there was no mud, and no mangroves," he said.

Mr Mahoney disagreed with Mr Olsen and said if the river was dredged, the barrage could stay.

"If they'd continued dredging like they said they would, perhaps we wouldn't have had the 2011/2013 floods."

Mr Mahoney said when the Ben Anderson barrage was put in, the river started to silt.

"No one took care of the river, particularly after the port was built," he said.

He said if we continued to let the river rise, we would continue see flooding.

"I do believe if we dredge up as far as the barrage, we would improve the flood zone area of Bundaberg."

"If we were to deepen the river, perhaps we may have saved a number of homes and businesses in the Bundaberg region," he said.



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