Threat to pub­lic health

Coun­cil may step in at Wu­ruma Dam as camp fa­cil­i­ties are stretched to break­ing point

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Emily Smith emily.smith@cnbtimes.com.au

WITH hun­dreds of campers de­scend­ing on Wu­ruma Dam’s free camp­ground in hol­i­day pe­ri­ods, North Bur­nett coun­cil­lor Paul Fran­cis is con­cerned about fu­ture pub­lic health is­sues.

The free fa­cil­ity has only three toi­lets, no dump point for car­a­vans, no show­ers and no potable wa­ter.

“When num­bers reach a cer­tain level and there just aren’t the fa­cil­i­ties to look af­ter them all, this could have some real im­pacts on the site,” Cr Fran­cis said.

“We have blind-eyed this long enough. We need to get in­volved.”

A SunWater rep­re­sen­ta­tive said the State Govern­ment-owned cor­po­ra­tion shared these con­cerns, as well as that of il­le­gal rubbish dump­ing and abuse of the free fa­cil­i­ties.

It was now look­ing to hand over man­age­ment of the recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties to North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil.

“This would be in SunWater’s in­ter­est as much as the coun­cil’s,” Cr Fran­cis said.

“Their fo­cus is on wa­ter sales and de­liv­ery, so the cost of main­tain­ing the free camp area is cur­rently be­ing passed on to their cus­tomers, the farm­ers.

“Farm­ers go and see the recre­ational area and they are not happy about hav­ing to pay for it.”

Mayor Don Waugh said the coun­cil had tried to en­gage SunWater in an on-site meet­ing for years, but SunWater con­sis­tently can­celled at late no­tice.

The coun­cil’s en­gi­neer­ing man­ager, Trevor Har­vey, ques­tioned whether tak­ing on man­age­ment of the fa­cil­ity would be in the coun­cil’s best in­ter­ests.

“There are some se­ri­ous is­sues at Wu­ruma that could cost a lot for coun­cil to fix,” he said.

But Cr Fran­cis said ne­go­ti­at­ing an up­grade of the fa­cil­ity or se­cur­ing a fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion from SunWater would be a com­po­nent of any han­dover.

“Get­ting them to seal the roads and make sure ev­ery­thing is in good con­di­tion or con­tribut­ing fi­nan­cially to an up­grade would min­imise the bur­den to our ratepay­ers,” he said.

Cr Fran­cis said the land could then be trans­formed into a commercial busi­ness, like at Ca­nia Gorge, by em­ploy­ing some­one to man­age it on the coun­cil’s be­half.

PHOTO: EMILY SMITH

FULL HOUSE: Wu­ruma Dam has be­come such a pop­u­lar spot for car­a­van­ners that it may cause pub­lic health prob­lems in the fu­ture.

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