BLOCKED: Peter Higgins says the state of the river mouth is affecting local business.
BLOCKED: Peter Higgins says the state of the river mouth is affecting local business. Mike Knott BUNELLIOTT

Sand and silt blocking up beach and river, says resident

PETER Higgins has lived at Elliott Heads for 14 years but says the beauty of the beach and river that once drew him and visitors from around the world in is quickly deterioating.

Mr Higgins said the river mouth has become so blocked over time that there was hardly any water coming through for people to swim in at low tide.

"It is just blocked up with sand and silt," he said.

"Years ago there used to be a springboard for people to dive into where the water would be more than 30ft deep and now there is just nothing."

"It's getting progressively worse."

Mr Higgins said the problem was due to a number of events that have happened over time, including natural disasters and man-made channels.

A rock wall, built on the sand island five years ago, is another cause for the build up of sand at the river mouth, according to Mr Higgins.

"The wall was built to help protect the southern mouth from any further erosions but what it has actually done is exacerbated the closing of this part of the mouth and forced a narrow channel through the other side," he said.

"As a result, all the bay area that used to be here is just not here anymore. The sand is being pushed over."

"The last election, the LNP promised to spend a couple of million to have it all dredged. I think that is the only thing that can be done. All this here has to go."

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said it would be costly to dredge the bars to the many coastal rivers and creeks containing part-tide boat launching facilities such as the Elliott River.

"It is likely maintenance dredging would need to be frequent, due to potential rapid siltation of the entrance bar after storms, cyclones and floods."

Ms Donaldson said the mouth of the Elliot River was an extremely dynamic system.

"Historically, the location of the river mouth and the shoals, have changed significantly - as seen during the last two major floods.

"Environmental issues such as dredge spoil disposal and upstream waterway ecology also impose significant constraints.

"For these reasons, it is not considered practical to maintain a dredged navigation channel at the entrance to the Elliott River or to fund the establishment of a stabilised entrance with breakwaters."

Mr Higgins said the problems were not only affecting tourism to the area but also local businesses.

"My business, Elliott Heads Boat Hire, in the last three years has probably lost about 80% hire inquiries. At least half of that is due to the fact (people) simply can't put boats in," he said.

"This part of the river is just ruined."

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