New study into Tamar lake released

Robin Frith, of not-for-profit Tamar Lake Inc

Robin Frith, of not-for-profit Tamar Lake Inc

THE group behind a proposal to turn the Tamar River estuary into a freshwater lake has released its latest study, which it says gives economic justification for the project.

Proponent Robin Frith, of not-for-profit Tamar Lake Inc., says the report shows construction of a $320 million barrage across the river at Rowella would generate 856 jobs during the three-year build.

The report says the barrage cost, plus $19 million for irrigation infrastructure, would contribute $313.5 million in value-added gross state product over three years.

Mr Frith said the project would also create 844 jobs a year in the irrigated agriculture and tourism sectors in the 15 years after its completion.

The group is now awaiting joint Commonwealth and state funding for 3D modelling of the river, and trying to get government support for a full feasibility study.

It hopes to submit both to Infrastructure Australia in nine months' time in a bid for capital funding.

``What the economic study has done is given us the last key in all of our (pre-feasibility) studies and given us the confidence to say we have a strong economic case, in addition to the technical and environmental studies,'' Mr Frith said.

Tamar Lake Inc. is working with environmental group NRM North and the Launceston Flood Authority on the 3D modelling proposal, to better understand the impacts of such a barrage.

NRM North acting chief executive Melissa Lewarn said: ``NRM North's main interest is ensuring that any proposal for the Tamar estuary does not have a negative impact on the environment. 

``We support a feasibility study into how this proposal would impact on water quality, threatened species and biodiversity in the estuary.''

Tamar Lake Inc. believes the creation of the 45-square kilometre lake would eradicate Launceston's silt problem, mitigate against floods, and boost tourism and recreation, by removing any tidal action upstream of the barrage and keeping the water at a constant level.

 Read more in  The Examiner  tomorrow.

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