17 December 2021
Environment, safety, business and liveability are the cornerstones of the new policy and plan adopted by Southern Downs Regional Council to map the future of Condamine River Road, the main access route through the natural treasure, Cambanoora Gorge.
Following extensive public consultation with interested stakeholders, the new direction addresses and reflects a balanced approach for a realistic action plan for the road.
In supporting the policy and plan, Southern Downs Councillor Stephen Tancred said that engaging with the people who were passionate about the area allowed Council to garner the necessary information to deliver a workable plan with a lot of moving parts.
“Lifestylers, long-term residents, traditional agricultural industry operators and new tourism industries all sat down and talked with our staff, engineers and fisheries experts over six months to produce the document in front of us,” Councillor Tancred said.
“Every resident had a chance to attend and contribute, and many of them did, with passion and sensible suggestions and by contributing their local knowledge.
“In the policy and plan, there is some traditional engineering and some high tech gadgetry; there is concrete, cameras, electronic signs, social media, old fashioned inspections, respect for laws, possible exemptions for locals and coordination of input from Council staff, police, fire services and most importantly, local residents. It has a lot of moving parts.
“Safety is a major and legitimate concern for residents, visitors, Council and emergency services staff that all use the road and this plan is safety based.
“The environment gets some benefits with the proposed low level cement crossings with fish passage preserved and turbidity reduced. Improved fencing will protect the banks and bed of the streams.
“Businesses can get longer periods of access by lowering the water height in the deepest of crossings so that tourists can get in but cattle trucks can get out.
“Liveability will improve as residents can hopefully get to town more often in a safer manner.”
Council CEO Dave Burges said it was pleasing to finally have an outcome for an issue that has been bubbling away for many years.
“There is a long history associated with the Condamine River Road and it is a great result to finally have some clarity on how this popular destination will be managed and preserved for all to enjoy.”
During the public consultation process, 15 specific issues were raised by the community and the policy and plan represents Council’s legislative responsibilities while preserving the unique nature of the road and the Cambanoora Gorge environment.