Bud­get cuts leave Low Isles hang­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

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.

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