10 Apr 2017

I was concerned to read your article Damage to Mackay Marina was preventable: manager (10.04.2017, Page 6) in which you stated that North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) did not comment about a proposal for a “nib wall”.

NQBP takes this issue seriously, and provided a detailed response to your reporter via email on Tuesday 4 April, in which we explicitly responded to the suggestions of a “nib wall” at the Mackay Marina.

For the benefit of your readers, and in particular the marina tenants at the facility, it is important that the full story in regard to this issue is presented.

First and foremost, the marina development is privately owned and operated by Port Binnli Group, and responsibility ultimately rests with the development company.

It is also the case that the northerly swell conditions that developed after the centre of TC Debbie passed have been recognised for some considerable time since the development of the Mackay Marina Village Project by Port Binnli in the late 1990s.

In a positive contribution, NQBP has recently spent $24 million upgrading the Southern Breakwater along the Marina section, and it was pleasing to see that the Breakwater held up well in its first big test of extreme weather, with direct benefit to the Marina development.

While NQBP does not have any direct responsibility for works or infrastructure associated with the marina developed by Port Binnli, it has continued to engage with Port Binnli on the “northerly fetch” issue over a number of years, to assist Port Binnli to identify a viable means of mitigating the impact of the northerly fetch.

The difficulty with the “nib wall” suggestion is that NQBP modelling shows it would unacceptably affect wave movement and operations within the main port area, without adequately mitigating the problem in the marina basin itself.

Please be assured we will continue to work with Port Binnli to find the best option and how it may be implemented.

However, it is important to reiterate that as the marina owner, Port Binnli is the responsible party, and any agreed solution would need to be privately funded.

While it was disappointing to see the careless reporting of this important issue in yesterday’s paper, I hope this letter is able to provide greater context for your readers.

Steve Lewis
Chief Executive Officer