Hut owners table petition
D I S G R U N T L E D h u t o w n e r s across North Queensland have taken their fight to State Parliament with a petition containing more than 1000 signatures of support.
H i n c h i n b r o o k MP A n d r e w Cripps tabled a petition in parliament opposing the forced removal of about 25 fishing huts from the Halifax Bay Wetlands National P a r k a n d t h e a d j a c e n t r e c - reational reserve.
Tempers flared recently during a crisis meeting held in Ingham as a crowd of about 150 North Queenslanders took turns venting their frustration at representatives from the Department of Environment and Resource Management.
Mr Cripps said he was determined to protect the lifestyle of North Queenslanders.
‘‘ The petition objects to the declaration of t he Halifax Bay Wetlands National Park, because we are concerned it will mean the recreational activities we pursue in the area will be impacted upon,’’ he said.
‘‘ North Queenslanders should be left in peace to enjoy the basic recreational activities that have been part of our lifestyle for generations.
‘‘ I have been extremely disappointed with DERM’s bloodymindedness.’’
The Halifax Bay wetlands are renowned for being a popular outlet for recreational users who have constructed the huts, often passed down within local families.
Mr Cripps said something needed to be done.
‘‘ No one is saying that more huts should be established inside or adjacent to the national park,’’ he said.
A group of l ocals r ecently formed the Halifax Bay Recreation and Lifestyle Association to protect the recreational interests of the local community.
The association recently wrote to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and Environment and Res ource Management Minister Kate Jones pleading for the decision to be reviewed.
‘‘ We are determined to keep the area open because we fear it will be closed off from all recreational activities,’’ group spokesman Darren Firth said.
‘‘ This isn’t just about the huts, it’s about protecting an area that is used by a wide range of people.
‘‘ We see the petition as a step forward and we will continue to represent the region.’’