Andrew Gale, with daughter Amy. Mr Gale was happy council approved the boat ramp but said the funding came from the wrong source.
Andrew Gale, with daughter Amy. Mr Gale was happy council approved the boat ramp but said the funding came from the wrong source. Jonno Colfs

Council's $30k boat ramp approval cops criticism

FUNDING has been approved for a low-level boat ramp at Leslie Dam but the decision has been met with criticism from one of the people who campaigned hardest for the asset.

The Southern Downs Regional Council yesterday agreed to split the $60,000 bill down the middle with SunWater.

Water safety expert Andrew Gale said he was happy the ramp was being installed but said it should not be funded by ratepayers.

After 12 years of campaigning for improvements to be made at the dam, Mr Gale said he believed the council had missed opportunities to receive State Government grants.

"I told the council how to lobby for this funding twice over a six-year period," he said.

"I'm excited this project is going ahead, however I still don't believe the right people are paying for it."

Councillor Rod Kelly said the council had been proactive in finding new avenues for funding the ramp.

"While state funding has eluded us for many years, council has been proactive in finding new avenues to fund the upgrade of Leslie Dam boat ramp," he said.

"The ramp is a great attraction for Leslie Dam and I look forward to being able to smash a bottle on it for the opening," he said.

Mr Gale said boat licence fees should cover the cost of improvements planned at the dam.

While Mr Gale is happy the council is installing the boat ramp, he said Leslie Dam was still in dire need of more facilities.

"There is not a single rubbish bin down there and the closest toilet is a kilometre drive away," he said.

"I found a used feminine hygiene product on the ground while I was there and my initial reaction was disgust but then I felt sorry for the poor lady who had no choice but to leave that there."

With the drought in full swing, Leslie Dam is the only one in the area suitable for jet-skiing.

Mr Gale said it was an underutilised economic resource whose wtih untapped potential.

"Through my work I have been to smaller dams in Dalby, Chinchilla and Roma and they all have these basic facilities," he said.

"It is not good enough, the dam is the jewel in our crown, a beautiful place which needs to be treated with more respect."



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