Hut own­ers ta­ble pe­ti­tion

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Ryan Mathe­son ryan. mathe­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.’’

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