McIntyre Valley landholders have expressed their concern at the lack of community awareness about the proposed Inland Rail crossing through their floodplain.
Local landholder, Robert Mackay says the area under investigation just doesn’t make sense.
“If you were given the job of picking the maddest possible place you could possibly cross the river where you could cause the most trouble, this would be it.”
Another landholder, Richard Doyle, from Boggabilla, says he believes the river crossing being considered is devastating for the floodplain.
“It’s pretty much crossing over the top of the off-take of the Whalan Creek. The Whalan Creek is the most significant off-take out of the river in times of high flooding upstream of Boggabilla and Goondiwindi, so if they build something there that restricts the flow of water then there’s great potential for water to be backing up through the Toomelah community and also cause major flooding down the river for Boggabilla and Goondiwindi and anyone else who happens to be in the way.”
The group says that their ARTC no longer seem interested in speaking with them and they have now made the decision that the only way forward is to enlist community support.
“We’ll go public with it so that people in our community are aware of what the potential dangers are if they build the wrong thing.”
The major concern for landholders in the McIntyre floodplain, they say, is that the proposed alignment has the potential for a major diversion of water away from the natural flow.
“Potentially water could be diverted down the Whalan system that otherwise could have flowed down the river and that has major consequences for the industry in the valley for access to water, and also erosion and just a general changing of the whole ecology of the valley itself.”
Toomelah Land Council chairman Carl McGrady says common sense should be ringing alarm bells, given the level of flooding the area now faces.
“At the moment we live with it and it disperses-If you put a two-meter wall in front of it, it’s either going to rip us off our little island here, take out Boggabilla, and then any water related industry from there down is going to be null and void because they’re either not going to have the water because it’s dispersing, or it’s going to be too much and it’s going to rip all the pumps out of the river anyway.”