By Margaret Maccoll
A 4-3 board majority approved the second annual report of the Noosa River Oyster Ecosystem Restoration Project last Thursday.
However, Council Managing Director Brett De Chastel confirmed that its approval would not meet the criteria for a Council funding payment that would require state government approval of the project.
Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie told the regular council meeting last Thursday that the benefits of the project have attracted considerable attention and funding from the federal government and the Thomas Foundation to the tune of $ 1.2 million each, matching the council contribution of $ 1.2 million.
He described the restoration project as a restoration of the habitat of sea creatures that was reminiscent of the tree planting that regularly occurs during the restoration of terrestrial habitat. “We are very lucky to have this opportunity. We will learn a lot from this, ”he said.
As stewards of the Noosa Biosphere, it is the responsibility of the council to seize all opportunities to use well-documented science and factual projects in collaboration with reputable organizations to improve the environment, he said.
“We cannot pretend to support science, evidence-based projects, and then oppose a project like this which so clearly offers the potential for environmental improvement, environmental benefits,” he said. he declares.
Cr Karen Finzel questioned the link between the approval of the annual report and a board milestone payment of $ 200,000 with board notes indicating that the report met the requirements of the funding agreement.
Mayor Clare Stewart did not accept the correlation between tree plantation rehabilitation projects and oyster restoration, saying the former did not require development permits from the state.
She said project KPIs continued to be deferred, with state approvals initially expected in July 2020 still not being obtained 15 months later, while pending project payments of 750 $ 000 of taxpayer money, which Cr Joe Jurisevic said came from Environment Levy, remained in quarantine.
“We can’t do anything without state permissions,” she said.