Cyclists ride a path that runs along one edge of McCauley Weir … the photo was part of a campaign Cr Jane Erkens led in late 2022 to get the weir re-opened for public recreation (Photo: Charlie Spagalli)

December 19, 2023

People who use Nanango’s McCauley Weir when it reopens for a six-month trial next year will have to pay a $100 deposit for a key to access the site.

They will also need to sign a strict usage agreement and return the key within two days.

McCauley Weir was built on Cooyar Creek in 1953 near the Seven Mile Diggings.

It was the original source of Nanango’s reticulated water supply as well as being a popular recreation spot for local residents.

Public access was blocked with a locked gate by the former Nanango Shire Council when the town’s water supply began to be drawn from Barker Creek and the weir’s water processing facilities were mothballed.

In 2012 – after some Nanango residents began agitating to have the weir reopened for recreational use – South Burnett Regional Council voted to continue blocking public access to McCauley Weir because the access road was unsafe.

This decision led to further agitation to have the weir re-opened, a cause that was taken up by the Nanango Tourism and Development Association (NaTDA) the following year.

In 2015, NaTDA representatives were taken on a tour of the weir by former SBRC Infrastructure Manager Russell Hood.

Mr Hood showed NaTDA representatives the poor condition of the dam’s access road.

He also explained that bringing the weir up to the same standard as other Council-owned facilities like Yallakool or Lake Boondooma could cost ratepayers as much as $500,000, along with ongoing maintenance costs.

As a result, the weir’s gate remained locked to the public.

But in December last year, Cr Jane Erkens launched her own campaign to have the weir re-opened, and public support for her ideas quickly won over most other councillors.

Cr Erkens argued that rather than spend the enormous amount required to bring the weir up to Yallakool standards, Council should adopt a “bare bones” approach to preserve the area’s rugged, natural beauty.

This campaign resulted in Council allocating $90,000 for safety upgrades to the access road – paid out of savings from Council’s capital works program – so the weir could re-open for a six-month trial in 2024.

At December’s Liveability Standing Committee meeting, Councillors were told the $100 bond was necessary to replace the lock on the gate if a key was not returned.

Councillors also discussed the procedures users will need to follow to access the weir.

McCauley Weir users will have to agree to:

1. Drive to the conditions of the access road
2. Agree to take all rubbish away and leave nothing at the weir
3. Agree to make their own arrangements for toileting
4. Keep any dogs they bring along under control
5. Not use fuel motors on the water to preserve the dam’s ecology
6. Keep to existing roads and not do any off-road 4WD or motorbike riding

Weir access keys and user agreements will be managed by the Council’s Nanango office.

An opening date for the six-month trial will be announced in 2024.

UPDATE February 9, 2024: The trial is expected to begin on February 20.

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Video: A video Cr Jane Erkens launched as part of her campaign to re-open McCauley Weir

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6 Responses to "Council Sets Weir Conditions"

  1. Would love to see this area reopened to the public. I myself would be a regular visitor as I love to kayak the waterways of our region. Also I have a mad keen 13 year old fisherman who would love to explore this area.

    You have my vote to reopen the Weir.

  2. Yes, this is a beautiful weir, I would agree to having it opened to the public. It really would be such an advantage to the community, I trust people will respect the conditions so we can all enjoy what is in our great region.

  3. I agree with Phil, unfortunately the agreement is worthless if not enforced. However, I hope we are proved wrong.

  4. Would love to see the weir reopen as I do love kayaking and nature, however, I worry that the key needs to be returned when I and many others might want to go regularly. I’d like to see a way that keys could be made available at least for a season.

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