Peter Krause and Kelli Frederiks are raising money to save the Bremer River.
Peter Krause and Kelli Frederiks are raising money to save the Bremer River. Sarah Harvey

Campaign to clean up Bremer River

IPSWICH is being urged to get behind a new campaign to turn the Bremer River from a polluted mess into a scenic asset for the city.

The city council has combined with a green charity, the International Riverfoundation, to launch a fund to clean up the neglected waterway.

Already, three businesses have donated a total of $60,000 to the project and it is hoped a six-figure will eventually be raised.

A forum is to be held in the city on April 15 to discuss how the river, which received an F grade in the last South East Queensland Healthy Waterways Partnership survey, can be revitalised.

While cleaning the Bremer will be a mammoth task, International Riverfoundation chief executive Peter Krause said it would be possible to significantly improve the river’s grading.

“It’s definitely not too far gone to worry about and I think people would be amazed if knew how quickly the river could turn itself around,” he said.

“It is hard to put a time line on things like this, because it is so large and there are so many variables, but there’s no doubt we can all make a difference along with council and local groups.

“With the support of business and the community, Ipswich can have a clean Bremer – and that will bring tourism, health, recreation and many other benefits to the city.”

Thiess Services, Emprja, and Wingate Properties are the three companies that have already donated $20,000 each.

International Riverfoundation executive officer Kelli Frederiks said she would continue to lobby businesses in Ipswich to contribute $20,000, half of which is tax-deductible.

“While we are targeting big businesses, we’re more than happy to accept smaller donations to the fund from local businesses and the broader community,” she said.

“We have begun to explore what kinds of restoration initiatives the funds will go towards, however the priority of these may change slightly based on the recommendations that come from the forum.”

One of the first projects the funding would go to is identifying ‘hot spot’ areas in the river to target first.

Ms Frederiks said initial tests indicated that by addressing ‘hot spots’ – about 20 per cent of the river catchment – would improve the overall health of the river catchment by up to 80 per cent.

The International Riverfoundation – an independent waterways protection group founded from Brisbane’s Riverfestival – will be joined at the forum by the International WaterCentre and the International Water Forum.

Ipswich City Council environment and conservation committee chairwoman Cheryl Bromage said it was vitally important that the Bremer River returns to a good state.

She said improved tourism and recreational facilities on the river, including more ramps, walkways and riverside precincts could be a possibility if the Bremer was healthy.

Any businesses or groups interested in contributing to the fund can telephone Kelli Frederiks on 3123 7767.

To download a brochure or for more information on the Bremer River Forum, visit www.internationalwaterforum.org.

The forum will be held on Thursday April 15 at the Metro Hotel Ipswich International.



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