Push to turn the old Stingray Creek Bridge into an artificial reef

Make it a reef: A reader has come up with a plan for the old Stingray Creek bridge. Pic: Glyn Jones.

Make it a reef: A reader has come up with a plan for the old Stingray Creek bridge. Pic: Glyn Jones.

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While travelling over Laurieton's new multi-million dollar Stingray Creek bridge trailing a boat, my mind turned to whoever’s brains were not present when the design of such steep triumvirate of speed bumps was approved.

I was haunted by the crunching of boat and trailer bouncing and knew they were not thinking of the boatie - in fact not thinking at all.

I wondered what I would do if I had a hand in design then, in a segue something of a epiphany occurred in a different but connected direction, something perhaps a consultant would perhaps be paid handsomely for a win-win idea, hopefully not a political Shelbyville idea.

Instead of demolishing the old bridge and transporting it at large expense to its grave as landfill, let’s transport it by barge, take it not far out to sea and build a reef or three, offshore from Laurieton.

Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams, perhaps our most active local member was quick to bask in the kudos of the Port Macquarie purpose built artificial reef (at a cost of just under $1 million), how about getting behind this unique and rare and significantly cheaper opportunity for local fishos and tourism?

How about jumping over any hurdles the public service will put in front of you, pick up the phone to your close colleagues, the environment and fisheries minister’s offices, have some minor funding allocated from the recreational fishing licence fund, (D.P.I. also routinely offers funds for habitat reconstruction), and as the old bridge is being demolished lower it on a barge take it out the Camden Haven entrance and construct several artificial reefs.

Sure, it’s not as majestic like the ones scientifically designed (like Port Macquarie) or a sunken ship but within years marine growth would adhere to it, the fish, molluscs and crustaceans would make it their home ensuring success similar to the Port Macquarie structure.

To help with the expedience of this project I can use extensive experience to shortlist two places to place the demolished bridge for a optimum outcome. 

Firstly, dumping one third of the old bridge 50-100 metres north of Point Perpendicular – an area currently sand (underwater desert) from this cliff face to Bonny Hills.

‘Bait Reef’

This could be what fisherman call a “bait reef” already popular at South West Rocks, attracting  large schools of sought after bait fish targeted by recreational fisherman, but will additionally attract similar very popular larger species caught from the headland - Longtail tuna and seasonal Spanish Mackeral for example, with additional demersal species like lobsters migrating as the growth takes over.

The remaining two thirds of the demolished bridge could be taken to three nautical miles east of Point Perpendicular to augment the original “Titan” wreck in 37 metres which is already successfully established so we know its future is a winner with both divers and fisherman.

Leslie, we were patient while you refused to speak out and towed the party line on council amalgamations and greyhounds, but now is the time to work the phone and do some deals as our local member.

This would be a beneficial outcome and would not only meet the approval of your local boat using constituents but would go a long way in helping the local area’s boating and fishing tourism already contributing to Laurieton in a significant  financial capacity. 

My phone calls to the local angling organisations have met with overwhelming approval so it’s over to your office to capitalise on a very unusual opportunity in the brief period before it gets carted away.

Brad Plummer

Dunbogan

What do you think of Brad’s idea for the old Stingray Creek Bridge? Does it have any merit? Send your comments to kate.dwyer@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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