Townsville’s fishing enthusiasts could soon be able to throw a line into Ross River Dam after Council voted to open it for recreational purposes.
Councillors voted to adopt a staged approach to utilising the dam for recreational activities to be rolled out over a three-stage process.
Stage one, to be introduced by June 2024, will allow for non-contact activities including land-based fishing and walking.
Dependent on securing external funding for new UV disinfection infrastructure at the Douglas Water Treatment Plant, stage two and three could start by June 2025 and open the site to commercial and recreational boating and fishing as well as water skiing.
Deputy Mayor Mark Molachino said Council had consulted with several community groups to investigate options around opening the dam.
“Council has recognised the significant opportunity for recreation activities at the dam for a while; however, consideration of the impacts it might have on safety and water quality are important factors for this decision,” Cr Molachino said.
“Ross River Dam is the main source of drinking water for Townsville, and we need to ensure this source is protected – if we open the area for fishing and boating, then we do it right.
“As part of the plan, Council will need to invest in infrastructure to cater for the increased use at the dam.
“Some of those things that need to be factored include improvements to the carparking area, security cameras and lighting, amenities, two-lane access road, boat ramp and pontoon, and pedestrian access paths to the designated fishing platform.”
Mayor Jenny Hill said a Stakeholder Reference Group would be created to help inform on the progression of the staged recreational implementation plan.
“This group would include representatives from the Queensland Police Service, Maritime Safety Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, relevant community groups and internal Council departments,” she said.
“Council will also be looking at external funding options to fund as much as the work as possible to minimise the cost to ratepayers.
“The combination of recreation activities with the operation of the dam presents an opportunity for Council and the community to collaborate to deliver new facilities for public use.”
For more information on the Ross River Dam, visit the Ross River Dam page.