Rates: the elephant on the beach as erosion bites
EDITORIAL: It is good to see Mayor Gerard O'Connell addressing the elephant in the room, or in this case on the beach: How much will it cost to protect Hervey Bay's foreshore from erosion, beyond this week's expensive but temporary solution.
There is no doubt about the necessity and urgency of this week's race against time to build up a sand wall at Torquay before the big tides at the end of the month.
But the six-figure cost this week is likely to be dwarfed by the cost of a more permanent solution. Cr O'Connell has flagged the council's ardent wish to have the State and Federal governments chip in for the project.
Asked if it would mean a big rate rise, the Mayor said: "No not at all. And it's a bit hard without knowing. Are we talking two, five or 10 million? When we know what we'd need to spend and the timeframe, then I think it might be a case of looking at where we can reallocate our spend. So no, I'm not anticipating hikes on this issue alone."
With the best intentions in the world, that is the sort of quote that tends to come back and bite politicians on the backside.
It can only become truth with significant support from George St and Canberra, administrations which cry poor on any project except those dear to their own ideologies or self-aggrandisement - on those they will spend handsomely.
Fraser Coast's ratepayers might be better served with a more brutally honest assessment of the likely hip-pocket pain. In any case, the foreshore is a vital asset in the Fraser Coast's economy - not just the Bay's - and we all need to share in the cost of its survival.
That being said: bring on the state and federal dollars.