Fewer visitors at Leslie Dam a shore thing
AS WATER levels at Leslie Dam sink closer to single digit percentages, access for recreational users becomes more treacherous and difficult, potentially turning people away from the region.
Currently sitting at 11.3percent capacity, the water's edge at Leslie Dam is about 70m from the bottom of all three boat ramps and Warwick boat licensing expert Andrew Gale said something needed to be done.
Mr Gale said people were less likely to use the dam without the proper infrastructure in place.
"Only three times in the last three years has the water level reached the bottom of the boat ramps,” he said.
"This means people are having to navigate uncertain ground to launch their boats,” he said.
"One day there were seven cars bogged at one time.
"Not only that, vehicles are heading down to launch all along the waterline, this raises environmental, erosion and water quality concerns.”
Mr Gale has been pushing for improved facilities at Leslie Dam for more than eight years.
"The part of shoreline up from where the boats launch from is completely devoid of any infrastructure at all,” he said.
"There's no parking, no toilets, no shade and worst of all no bins.
"Where are people going to the toilet? Are they taking their rubbish home? No, in a lot of cases, they are not.
"I have no doubt that Leslie Dam is being under-sold, this is a really popular spot but were there just a little more here to make it that bit more comfortable to users, then I'm sure we'd seeing visitor numbers increase out of sight.”
A neighbour and regular user of Leslie Dam Cr Rod Kelly said there were improvements that could be made.
"The water levels certainly weren't impacting on visitor numbers over Easter, that's for sure,” Cr Kelly said.
"The Lake Leslie caravan park was packed, the Washpool camping reserve was packed and there were people everywhere.
"Obviously the water level is not where we'd like it to be, but that's out of our control.”
Cr Kelly said he had written to Sunwater in 2017 asking for an extension to one of the boat ramps to make water access easier during times of low water levels.
"There would certainly be quite a cost to that, but it would certainly enhance launching opportunities.
"Essentially extension of the boat ramp located at Leslie Dam requires Southern Downs Regional Council to work in partnership with SunWater and the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
"However, available funding via the Queensland Government's Marine Infrastructure Fund has been fully allocated until 2020.
"We are committed to continually improving the region's recreational facilities and will consider making an application for funding when the fund reopens in 2020.”
Cr Kelly said Leslie Dam was a very popular spot.
"People come from all over southeast Queensland to fish, boat and ski here,” he said.
"But there's no doubt that improved facilities at the dam would attract more people.
"Certainly having more bins around the launching areas is something we can look into.”
A Sunwater spokeswoman said the company provided and maintained basic public recreation amenities near the dam wall including clean toilets, barbecues and picnic tables.