Sand bypass to cut dredging
By ROXANNE MILLAR
THE Tweed sand bypassing project will become the primary method for keeping the Tweed River mouth clear, following a decision to reduce the amount of dredging.
Currently, sea-going dredge the Port Frederick is responsible for ensuring the bar remains and safe and open through its average of two dredging programs each year.
Bypass project manager Ian Taylor said they wanted to reduce reliance on the dredge by bringing it out only once a year.
He said it was hoped the river system and bypassing project would be able to keep the mouth clear without the Port Frederick's help.
"We are hoping to get through next year without dredging, although the priority is always to keep the entrance safe," he said.
"We think we can trap the majority of sand and stop the need for it to be dredged," he said.
"This is our aim as the system set- tles down a bit."
Point Danger Volunteer Marine Rescue spokesperson John Gnech hit out at the plan yesterday, concerned that a lack of dredging could cause safety problems over time.
"Undoubtedly they wouldn't want to bring the Port Frederick back because of cost issues, but if sand builds up and we don't get rain then they will have to bring it back," he said.
"If the dry spell doesn't break and we don't get floods and rain to keep the river mouth open, the sand will contin- ue to build up," he said.
"This would pose a problem for the professional and recreational fishermen that use it.
"It is also getting more and more popular over time."
However, Mr Taylor said the dredge would be brought back when deemed necessary, even if this was within the 12-month period.
"We monitor it ourselves. We don't wait until conditions deteriorate and navigation is compromised to dredge," he said.