Row over fishing access gets ugly, as spat between ‘elite’ and ‘bogans’ takes to Facebook
One local said the owners “just need to fence it off like other landowners do”. (Supplied: Andrew Caddle )
A row is brewing between the new owners of a grazing property in Tasmania’s south and locals who are incensed over the closing of a public road to a popular fishing spot.
- The road being considered for closure is a public road, but runs through private land
- The landowners want the road closed because of ongoing problems with vandalism, burnouts and wood theft
- Access to the dam and boat ramp will still be possible from the western end
The new owners, a professional couple, bought the 1,000-hectare Mt Baines property near Colebrook in June 2017 for about $1.8 million.
They now want the Southern Midlands Council to close a public access road through their property to the north-eastern end of Craigbourne Dam because of repeated vandalism, trespass and wood theft.
The move has the support of police — but not of fishers like Andrew Caddle, who has been putting his boat in at that end of the dam for 16 years.
“This isn’t just about Craigbourne Dam or a local road,” he said.
“It’s about the rights of ordinary people being extinguished to satisfy the desires of an elite few.”
A user of Craigbourne Dam, near Colebrook, with a ‘hands off’ sign in their car window. (Facebook: Craigbourne Dam Access Under Threat)
Mr Caddle, who lives on nearby Hungry Flats Road, said during summer he would go down to the dam for a beer and fishes for redfin “which most people don’t regard very highly”.
“I’m a regular angler at the dam. It’s about 15 minutes from my gate. If that area is unavailable I’ll have to drive for half an hour, put my boat in and then if I want to fish at my favourite spot, I’ll have to motor all the way up at five knots before I can even start.”
Mr Caddle is running a social media campaign opposing the closure and has urged others to write to the Southern Midlands Council.
“I’m a person of fairly limited means and it’s the only fishery close to my home that I can enjoy without incurring much expense,” he said.
New mayor Alex Green said he has been taken aback by the level of public concern.
“I’ve received about 20 emails and a large number of phone calls about it,” he said.
“People have really opened my eyes to the various recreational uses it’s put to that I wasn’t aware of.
“Saying that though, it’s not a council proposal, we’re asking people to tell us what they think about it.”
‘The thing I know about bogans is they’re lazy’
On the Facebook page of those opposing the closure, some of the comments go beyond polite disapproval.
Bill posted: “I’d like to have a little one-on-one with this joker”.
“If you are reading this bloke, have a bloody good look at yourself. You must lead a sad existence.”
“This kind of attitude is the exact reason why access will be removed. This is private land and access to it is a privilege, not a right,” Nathan Myers responded.
Andrew Caddle says the eastern end of the dam is more sheltered and a perfect spot for fishing (Supplied: Andrew Caddle )
Mr Caddle said he was appalled that hundreds of people were being punished for the actions of a few, and suggested the landowners fence their property on either side of the road instead of cutting access completely.
“The thing I know about bogans is they’re lazy,” he said. “They just need to fence it off like other landowners do and you’ll keep them out.”
Tasmania Police said there had been reports of trespassing “and vehicles doing burn-outs in the area” but ultimately it was a local government matter.
Council documents suggest Inland Fisheries supports continued access, with access guaranteed by the government of the day when it was built in 1986, with the agency of the view it should be maintained.
The new owners have been contacted for comment.
The public can make submissions to the council until December 17.