Budget cuts leave Low Isles hanging
THE Low Isles research station will be left abandoned due to budget cuts by the University of Queensland unless another user is found.
The future of the research station was raised along with other issues in a recent Low Isles stakeholder meeting held on the iconic island.
The Douglas Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC) organised the meeting and chair Robert Hanan said there was opportunity to find a replacement for the research station.
“The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) are looking for expressions of interest for suitably qualified research organisations like universities or people in the marine research area,” he said.
“One suggestion which I think is quite a good one but will require significant funding is to create another turtle rescue facility like they have in Fitzroy Island.
“We will be looking to garner funding to go back into maintaining the building with UQ quitting the island within a few months.
“Although the lease doesn’t expire until January, there is significant work to be done in that house with three water storage tanks all leaking at the base.”
New caretakers Wayne and Jenni Fox who discussed the implementation of new initiatives on the island, including upgrading the interpretive museum with displays of marine debris, local wildlife and the island’s history.
Mr Hanan said expanding the interpretive centre into the base of the lighthouse was discussed at the stakeholder meeting.
“GBRMPA reacted favourably to putting some sort of interpretive facility inside the base of the lighthouse, it’s one of the oldest lighthouses in Queensland,” he said.
“The other thing that happened out there is the solar energy system is now finally working properly after years, with a new inverter fitted.
“The generators have not run since, it’s working really well, the only issue to address is the sewage system plants, which soaks up a lot of energy.”
The meeting, which was attended by representatives of the tourism industry, Low Isles Preservation Society, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Meteorology, also discussed the involvement of current LIPS volunteers.
Another initiative introduced by the new caretakers includes a monthly e-newsletter. Email jenni@coralcaylife. com to subscribe.