The mouth of Ross Creek provided a suitable anchorage for small ships, but once larger vessels were involved, the breakwaters that created the current port of Townsville were constructed. The resulting harbour, being located in shallow water, needs dredging to keep it open.
The location of the port at the mouth of Ross Creek has also created inevitable traffic problems as the goods passing through the port of Townsville have to be moved through the urban areas of South Townsville and Railway Estate.
Those considerations, added to the fact that there must be substantial constraints on the size of ships using the port, suggest that once those responsible for planning infrastructure in the region start looking at Abbot Point it’s highly likely that we’re going to end up with a major commercial port out there regardless of any heavy industrial development in the area.
That’s why I’m suggesting that major development around Bowen is, more or less, inevitable.
Since Townsville has become the de facto commercial and administrative centre of North Queensland the city has probably reached the point where further growth will be self-sustaining, regardless of any Federal Government decisions regarding the size of the military facilities in the city.
Given Townsville’s self-proclaimed status as the “Garrison City” you wouldn’t be expecting the numbers of Army and Air Force personnel to decrease without creating a substantial electoral backlash.
That prospect of self-sustaining growth means that in the future there will be projects put forward that Townsville’s business community just won’t be interested in and, there are more than likely a couple of projects that they wouldn’t mind losing, should the opportunity arise.
Just after the closure of the meat-works at Merinda there was a suggestion that Abbot Point would be suitable for live cattle exports. That proposal was immediately claimed by Townsville, though I suspect that there are a number of residents of the unit developments in Townsville’s city centre who are less than impressed by the decision when the live cattle export ships are in town.
Regardless of whether that facility is relocated to Abbot Point, it’s clear that the projects that have attracted all the attention to date are the tip of the iceberg as far as Bowen’s concerned and that the population growth that’s been bandied around is more or less inevitable, regardless of whether Chalco goes ahead.
That means we need to take a serious look at some of the implications for the town before decisions that will have a major impact on our lifestyle are made.
Looking at some of those considerations drives the content of the remaining pages of this site.