Public meeting at Tailrace Centre discusses viable options for Tamar River Canal to solve silt

Cleaner rivers: Dr Andrew Fischer from the University of Tasmania speaks about the issues of estuary health around the world.
Cleaner rivers: Dr Andrew Fischer from the University of Tasmania speaks about the issues of estuary health around the world.

A public meeting at the Tailrace Centre to discuss a Tamar River Canal, and the science and engineering aspects of a such a proposal, was attended by more than 40 people.

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson hosted the meeting, saying it was “not a political meeting” but a chance for information to be shared by experts in the field of river health.

Dr Andrew Fischer from the University of Tasmania offered insights on the efforts to clean up a similar estuary ecological system in the city of Duluth in Minnesota, along the Saint Louis River. 

His report showed a concerted effort to rehabilitate the river that was dealing with “dual requirements” of ecological needs and economic needs, restoring community pride in the river.

Dr Ian Kidd, a researcher from the UTAS Centre for Ecology and Biodiversity who has spent many years studying silt deposits, emphasised the need for action on the present Waste Water Treatment Plant.

“We’re a first-world city, we should not have to put up with this sort of facility in the centre of our city,” he said.

“We just accept it because it’s always been there, but we don’t have to accept it.”

Consultant naval architect Mike Seward likewise called for more action on the state of the Tamar River, presenting viable options for a canal to divert flow coming from the Trevallyn Power Station along the Trevallyn bank.

“A city that once thought of itself as at the forefront of progress – the first gas lights, the first hydro, the first operation under anesthetic in the Southern Hemisphere … should not have a waterfront like this,” he said.