In response to recent high-risk dingo activity in Orchid Beach, an additional dingo-deterrent fence spanning nearly six kilometres will be constructed around the township.
On 15 September 2021, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) held a community consultation meeting at Orchid Beach with over 40 community members present, including local emergency services personnel. The meeting was well-received by the community and provided an opportunity to discuss the design and alignment of the new fencing around the Orchid Beach township.
Three alignment options were presented, and on 21 October 2021, two Butchulla representatives joined QPWS staff at Orchid Beach to review the preliminary alignment of the dingo-deterrent fence.
We can now advise ‘Other -Option 3’ concept fence alignment has been endorsed as a practical option for improving community and visitor safety in the area.
QPWS believes the decision balances community needs with other design, environmental, safety, and cultural priorities. Key elements of this alignment include:
- Maintaining unrestricted safe community and visitor access within the fence line
- Ensuring unrestricted emergency access
- Maintaining an adequate setback from all property boundaries
- Fencing the community precinct area (Queensland Fire and Emergency Services/Aircraft Landing Association buildings and shop)
- Maintaining firebreak clearance on both sides of the fence.
- 1.8m high dingo deterrent fencing of a total approximate length of 5.5km around the township.
- Six access grids in total (two side-by-side on both northern and southern beach access roads and one each at Wathumba Rd and bottom of Eliza Ave). Each grid will have a pedestrian gate and timber road palleting.
- Thirteen other gates (pedestrians or vehicles), including one of each gate type accessing the airstrip/helipad.
The final alignment may have minor deviations in response to constraints identified in surveys and engineering design. However, a track will be maintained on the inside perimeter of the fence for emergency access around the township. Limiting the removal of World Heritage vegetation and reducing the area inside the fence line for managing dingo incursions or impacting potential wallaby habitat is also a very high priority.
To minimise impacts and maximise management efficiency, QPWS will be reclaiming the section of fire line from Wathumba Road to the Ngkala Road/Northern beach access road and aligning the fence adjacent to existing roads or tracks where possible.
Further discussions and design details will continue up to and during the tender phase, and our project team, contractors, and rangers will continue to be onsite over the coming months.
Required site surveys have been programmed with an anticipated construction schedule commencing April/May 2022 for completion in the latter half of this year, should there be no further delays or impacts.
Key steps are:
- Release of the design and construction tender – February 2022
- The project team and executive site visits – Commenced January and ongoing during February and March 2022.
- Site and cultural survey – early February to March 2022
- Updating the Orchid Beach Community Fire Management Plan with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.
We look forward to keeping you informed as the project progresses or milestones are met.
Contributed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Coastal and Islands Region