Cressbrook Dam

Monday, 6 November 2023

We had an excellent rollup of thirty-seven (37) for this event.

We travelled to Perseverance Dam & then Peter Taylor started providing us with the background of Perseverance, how it flowed into Cressbrook Dam, what wildlife was around, along with pointing out various features such as how close the last bushfire got to both Cressbrook & Perseverance.

On arrival at Cressbrook we had smoko in the camp kitchen – it is very well set up, and even has 240V power & hot water. 

After smoko, Peter provided us with the history of Cressbrook & how hard it was to eventually get Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) to open the dam up for recreational fishing – I suppose when you think about it, when three levels of government are involved in the dam anything you want to do will take time to get approved/done e.g., fish habitat restoration (Fish attractor devices). I found Peter’s talk very interesting as I am not a fisherman, particularly, the logic behind where the different types of fish attractors were located in the dam i.e., you don’t just put them anywhere & hope for the best. As a part of the location process, they had to consider the species of fish in the dam, the depth they lived at, the attractor they did best around, along with the location that best suited giving due consideration to water flows, shade & wind etc. To satisfy all the requirements they installed a variety of attractors including timber, synthetic, mixed & reef with some weighted down & others suspended. It is obvious that this was a very complex & time-consuming operation with full credit to the local fish stocking group of volunteers, TRC & all levels of government that facilitated/assisted in getting Cressbrook dam to where it is today. Cressbrook Dam has a great camp kitchen & a well laid out camping/caravan area – In my opinion it would be a great place to stop for a few days to relax as you can look at the views, watch the wildlife, go for walks along the well laid out walking tracks, or, put your tinny in the dam & drop a line in around one of these fish attractors (refer plan attached) & see if you can catch a fish or two.

Following Peter, Rebecca Von Hoff (Deputy Mayor of TRC) supported by engineers Jake & Matt provided us with an excellent overview of the complexities of providing & maintaining the water supply to Toowoomba Regional Council Residents. Also, Rebecca outlined where TRC planning was up to with the proposed upgrade to Cressbrook Dam along with the roll out of the water supply extension from Cressbrook to the Southern Downs (Warwick & Stanthorpe). Personally, I was very impressed with Rebecca’s presentation & her attitude to answering questions i.e., none of the beating around the bush nonsense that politicians usually carry on with; she just candidly answered the questions.

A couple of examples were –

Q. When will our water levy be lifted as we were told when it was first applied that this would occur once the debt had been cleared.

A. Never – It will remain to cover the cost of the upkeep & maintenance of the pipeline infrastructure – Also, she did not blame anybody, but just stated that the communication to rate payers at the time could have been clearer.

Q. How much will the planned upgrade to Cressbrook Dam cost, will the upgrade increase the dam capacity, & who will pay for it.

A. The total cost of the upgrade will be in the order of $300M.  The upgrade is required to bring the dam up to standard to meet current legislative requirements & will not increase its capacity – The dam was built to comply with requirements at the time, whereas the new standard covers the need to mitigate flooding downstream from the overflow of water from the dam causing damage to property & potential loss of life.

TRC own the dam infrastructure, but, as there is no increase to dam capacity you could argue that no tangible benefits accrue to TRC Rate Payers. Rebecca is hopeful that this argument will get traction when put to the State & Federal Governments for funding assistance.

After Peter thanked Rebecca, Jake & Matt for taking time out from their busy schedules to be with us today we then travelled to the Meringandan Hotel for lunch.

When all members had finished their lunch, members’ birthdays falling in November were acknowledged & celebrated in our usual manner Viz. Ray Akins, John Kleve, David Turner (The three Remberance Day Musketeers), John Baines, Nick Peters (coach Driver), John Burton, Russell Mauch, Peter McAuliffe & Ross Phipps.

Also, we acknowledged significant milestones for John Kleve (90) & Peter McAuliffe (80).

Special thanks to all who contributed to making this another safe & enjoyable event for all attendees, including Peter Taylor for organising this event along with his very interesting & informative presentation; Rebecca Von Hoff (supported by engineers Jake & Matt) for her very refreshing & interesting presentation & Q & A Session; Michael Bourke & Russell Mauch for looking after our finances & name badges including receipting & banking of surplus cash; Peter Thompson for his usual gig of ensuring we all got on & off the coach safely at each stop; Ron Lewis & Lindsay Reis for looking after our hydration needs along with ensuring the coach was loaded & unloaded as required with Smoko items etc; Bob Whittaker & Evan Fairley for being on duty as our first aid officers; Jan Neal for making our much appreciated birthday cake; The staff at the Meringandan Hotel for our great lunch; Warwick Dingle for ensuring we were all accounted for before the coach departed again after each stop; The under 70’s volunteers (with a bit of enticing) for serving our birthday cake; & finally our wonderful coach driver Nick Peters for transporting us to & from Cressbrook Dam safely.

19 November 2023