Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting.
Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting.

How to have your say on the region’s water strategy

A NEW draft strategy that includes voluntary off-set payments by developers to council for ensuring stormwater quality has been made available for community feedback.

Across the next four weeks, locals can have their say on the document aimed at improving water quality in the region.

At the meeting on Wednesday, councillors voted to unanimously endorse the draft Fraser Coast Regional Water Quality Strategy and Implementation Guide for public release.

The draft, which is available on council's website, recommends a waste management hierarchy of "avoid, mitigate, and offset" to address storm water pollution.

Councillor Anne Maddern said the strategy would help look after and protect the environment from urban stormwater run-off.

"The waters of Hervey Bay and the Great Sandy Strait are not just our playground," she said.

"They are home to an amazing array of fish, birds and animals and need to be protected."

The strategy also recommends adopting an erosion and sediment control framework.

"The first phase will be educational; improving the understanding across council and the development industry of stormwater quality and water quality issues as well as sediment and erosion control measures," Cr Maddern said.

"The second phase will enhance on-ground practices to meet stormwater quality standards, including stronger compliance with erosion and sediment control measures."

The proposed document states an "offset payment to council would address the shortfall in on-site treatment", could be spent on things like water-smart street trees, downpipe diverters and litter management in high profile areas.

Under the strategy, developers would provide bioretention street trees to help provide local shade and amenity.

As this would not fully meet the water quality targets, developers could purchase a voluntary offset from council in eligible cases.

Cr Maddern said council would use offset funds to "deliver a range of water quality improvement measures, such as bioretention street trees or riparian revegetation elsewhere in the region".

Recommendations also include avoiding the clearing of existing vegetation for the purposes of creating new stormwater treatment assets.

Water engineering consultants Bligh Tanner were engaged to develop the draft with assistance from Healthy Waterways representatives.

The time window to provide feedback closes on November 22.