Airlie to host Flotilla for the Reef
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.