Sketches for improvements at Hills Reserve and Savages Crossing. Photo: Contributed
Sketches for improvements at Hills Reserve and Savages Crossing. Photo: Contributed

Boom gates, CCTV on cards to curb river ‘ratbag’ vandals

Detailed reports outlining best practices and preservation methods for the Mid Brisbane River catchment have been considered by Somerset Regional Council.

But most recently, adventurists using the riverbanks as four-wheel drive tracks and camping grounds have outraged locals, especially when left in deplorable conditions.

In late 2018, Somerset council partnered with Seqwater and the Council of Mayors to co-fund an investigation into Hills Crossing and Savages Crossing.

The report, which focuses on rebuilding the natural environment and community education, looks at opportunities for designated car parks, boom gates, paved walkways fencing and vegetation planting.

Sketches for improvements at Hills Reserve and Savages Crossing. Photo: Contributed
Sketches for improvements at Hills Reserve and Savages Crossing. Photo: Contributed

 

Despite the final report not compelling any of the partners to implement any or all of the recommendations, mayor Graeme Lehmann said they presented a prospectus of costed opinions.

At the council's first meeting of 2021 on Wednesday, councillors agreed to adopt the report.

"The project and subsequent reports were completed on the premise of developing river rehabilitation and recreational plans," he said.

In February 2018, the council temporarily closed Hills Crossing Reserve at Borallon, due to significant environmental damaged caused by anti-social behaviour and unauthorised camping on private land.

Earlier this year, vehicles were restricted at Twin Bridges and Savages Crossing again for anti-social behaviour and unauthorised camping.

Sketches for improvements at Hills Reserve and Savages Crossing. Photo: Contributed
Sketches for improvements at Hills Reserve and Savages Crossing. Photo: Contributed

 

Councillor Sean Choat, who re-flagged the issue at a council meeting late last year and spoke with News Corp journalists, said media attention about the issue demonstrated to the community council intended to take actions.

"They demonstrated to the community that the council was passionate about the issue, getting rid of the ratbags and getting rid of the mess," he said.

"I think in the future we can see some fantastic things for our community along that patch of river."

The report details that carparking and a barrier at Hills Reserve would cost $145,206, a walkway covering 208m2 costing $9360 and proposed security cameras $30,000.

Sketches for improvements at Hills Reserve and Savages Crossing. Photo: Contributed
Sketches for improvements at Hills Reserve and Savages Crossing. Photo: Contributed

 

Boom gates costed for Hills Reserve entry and exit lanes would cost $11,600 and a bypass road $240,000.

At Savages Crossing, a carparking project would cost between $59,125 and $90,650 and security cameras at $60,000.

Cr Lehmann said council was committed to finding solutions to address the environmental concerns and establish ways to develop sustainable recreational use.

He said council would write to project partners seeking agreement regarding delivery and maintenance of the initiatives.

Somerset Regional Council councillor Sean Choat at Savages Crossing.
Somerset Regional Council councillor Sean Choat at Savages Crossing.

 

"It's a one in-all-in approach. We need to be on board with that - all of the statutory bodies," Cr Lehmann said.

"We're talking about a length of time for these to come into fruition and take hold in that area (and) we can ensure our community we have done this to the best of our abilities."