Air­lie to host Flotilla for the Reef

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

STAND, pad­dle or sail – this is the invitation from an al­liance of en­vi­ron­men­tal and com­mu­nity groups to join a ‘Flotilla for the Reef’ on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 19.

The flotilla, which will take place at Can­non­vale’s Whit­sun­day Marine Club (VMR) and on Pi­o­neer Bay, is aimed at unit­ing the com­mu­nity in a show of strength about pro­tect­ing the Great Bar­rier Reef.

Whit­sun­day res­i­dents are in­vited to grab their friends and head out on yachts, tin­nies, kayaks, boards, or other wa­ter craft, or sim­ply take a stand on land, to raise aware­ness about the risks to the reef from the dump­ing of dredge spoil.

Spokesper­son for the com­mu­nity group Whit­sun­day Res­i­dents Against Dump­ing (WRAD), Brit­tney Gre­gory, said the idea be­hind the event was to cre­ate a colour­ful flotilla and heart for­ma­tion across the wa­ter to send a mes­sage to the State and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ments “that we want the in­cred­i­ble nat­u­ral icon the Great Bar­rier Reef pro­tected for all time”.

“The State Gov­ern­ment has sig­nalled plans to dis­pose of dredge spoil in the Ca­ley Val­ley Wet­lands at Ab­bot Point and has not ruled out dump­ing in reef wa­ters for other pro­posed port ex­pan­sions,” Ms Gre­gory said.

“Wet­lands act as a nat­u­ral fil­ter for the reef [and] Ca­ley Val­ley is a na­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant wet­land and habi­tat for 40,000 wa­ter birds in­clud­ing the en­dan­gered Aus­tralian Painted Snipe,” she said.

“Plans that will re­quire 100 mil­lion tonnes of dredg­ing, sig­nif­i­cant amounts of dump­ing in reef wa­ters, and an in­crease to 7000 ships cross­ing the Great Bar­rier Reef each year are still in place.”

Ms Gre­gory said par­tic­i­pants were en­cour­aged to make cos­tumes, signs and ban­ners “to make this a bright, colour­ful and pos­i­tive event with a spe­cial mes­sage”.

“[And] you don’t need a boat to take part - land­lub­bers can join in the heart for­ma­tion at the Whit­sun­day Marine Club, and stay for live mu­sic and in­spir­ing speak­ers,” she said.

Reg­is­tra­tion opens at 9am for a 10am launch. De­pend­ing on weather con­di­tions, on-wa­ter par­tic­i­pants should be able to launch from ei­ther the pub­lic boat ramp at Alt­man Av­enue, Can­non­vale, or Abel Point Ma­rina or Shin­g­ley Beach.

For more in­for­ma­tion or to reg­is­ter on­line, visit www.flotil­laforthereef.org.au.

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