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Queensland state government and Opposition party pledge $1.5m to save Kirra

17:44 2nd March 2009 by
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The massive turn out for an Australia Day paddle-out in support of restoring Kirra to its former glory made it clear just how important this issue is to voters and politicians alike. Photo: Surfrider Australia.

The campaign to restore Kirra point to its former glory has been enriched with a 1.5 million pledge from both the Queensland State Labor Government and Opposition (LNP). Both Political Parties are facing a QLD State Election on the 21st of March and are locked into a neck and neck battle in the Polls turning the Kirra situation into a political election issue. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh released her Kirra Policy late on Thursday (Feb 26th) ahead of a similar pledge the following day by the QLD State Opposition LNP leader Lawrence Springborg. The only real difference in policy is that the LNP are prepared to go further by turning off the Tweed sand pumping for three weeks to assess its (sand) impact. Both political parties have vowed to initiate immediate action to move sand off Kirra beach by creating dunes, sand sculpturing the beach to change currents, shape sandspits and inshore gutters to bring the bank in. The unique sand pumping operation was approved by both the QLD and NSW Labor Governments 10 years ago jointly signing off on a 25 year contract to pump sand North from the NSW border to QLD. Over the last 7 years, 10 million cubic metres of sand was taken from South Tweed and pumped off Lovers Rock from the main outlet yet only 1/8 actually moved north with the rest clogging Coolangatta and especially Kirra Point to North Kirra. In a stroke of luck certainly not engineered as part of the sand replenishment, the sand pumping created the Super Bank from Snapper to Coolangatta but it radically changed the Kirra Point break pushing the bank out to sea and turning the once iconic Point Break into a beach break “straight-hander” while leaving the beach sand blocked and devastating the reefs by an over supply of sand.

The news that the Qld State Government and Opposition are prepared to do something has been welcomed by the KirraPoint.org Committee (KPC) who will assist in the process of restoring the once famous Point break.

The other major player in the sand pumping debacle is the NSW Government who is now for the first time ever prepared to come to Kirra this Friday and discuss what needs to be done.

The NSW Minister of Lands Tony Kelly who signed off on the Lennox Head Surfing reserve last year has sought a meeting with QLD State Governments to discuss the issue and how to find the best solution.
ALP Candidate from Currumbin Michael Riordan has campaigned for meetings from both NSW and Queensland. He vacillated a meeting with the QLD State Minister of Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change Andrew McNamara two weeks ago in Brisbane which was attended by the KirraPoint.org Committee. McNamara, a lawyer and former surfer who surfed Kirra in the Day promptly called for an immediate action plan and his office pressed NSW for a meeting. Michael Riordan ran for Currumbin in the last QLD State election losing by 2% to sitting member Jann Stuckey. Jann has been relentless in pushing the Kirra issue but has been hamstrung in opposition despite her constant requests to Government to act on Kirra.

Stuckey accused Riordan of coming into the election late on the Kirra issue, however credit should be given to Michael Riordan for negotiating the necessary State Government meetings with NSW & QLD something that would have been near impossible for Jann in opposition and from the conservative side of politics. The Riordan name in Labor politics holds political clout with Michael’s father a former Federal Minister in the 70’s Whitlam Government and older brother who is State ALP President of the NSW Labor Government.

While the Queensland State election could go either way, one thing for certain is that the Politicians on both sides have reacted in a positive manner.

Irregardless of the Queensland State election result Kirra has been cut some slack and that’s good news for its future and the Bring Back Kirra Campaign!

To alleviate concerns of too much sand moving north, the KirraPoint.org Committee does not want to see is a repeat of Kirra at say Currumbin or Burleigh. Chairman of the KPC Neil Lazarow said,
“The primary goal of the KPC is to ensure that coastal protection is achieved in harmony with the natural environment and recreational amenity. The KPC understands that beaches are the lifeblood of the Gold Coast and that an active management approach is required to maintain our beaches.”

“We don’t want our problem to become a problem at Currumbin or Burleigh. This is why we asked the Government to not only review the legislation but to fund a program of research and infrastructure development to ensure that we manage our beaches for the whole community.”

“For example, we’ve asked the government to investigate ways to better manage Currumbin and Palm Beach. We’ve also asked them to fund the construction of a permanent dredging and bypass system from Tallebudgera Creek to Burleigh Heads.”

“The Gold Coast beaches are exposed to a high wave energy environment and in the past we have witnessed the destructive effort of major storms. We need to actively manage our beaches so that they protect the billions of dollars worth of public and private coastal real estate, but also provide the best possible recreational amenity for both the community and visitors to this region.”

Surfrider Foundation and its Tweed and Gold Coast Chapter who have backed the Kirra campaign to the hilt will be hosting a Kirra Surf Movie night this Wednesday, 4th March at the Bread N Butter upstairs lounge, Kirra.

The following Wednesday night (11th of March), KPC is inviting everyone to the ‘Shifting Sands Symposium” night at Café Le Monde. Kicking off at 5.30am and costing $100.00 for a three course dinner and complimentary drink. It will be an entertaining night with music from James Murray who has penned a “Bring Back Kirra” song as well as a surfing memorabilia auction and raffles with guest speakers including well known celebrity Lawyer and screenwriter/novelist Chris Nyst, ASP International President Rabbit Bartholomew (AM) and Marine Biologist and social scientist Neil Lazarow. All three are super high achievers from completely different fields but share one thing in common, they all surf!!!