10 May, 2024

Seasonal closures on cards

POPULAR, but dangerous waterways and waterfalls in the Cairns region may be closed during the wet season.

By Nick Dalton

Crystal Cascades. Credit: Tourism Tropical North Queensland
Crystal Cascades. Credit: Tourism Tropical North Queensland

A Cairns Regional Council review is aiming to identity potentials ways to improve safety following three fatalities, including two at Isabella Falls in December, 2023 and on April 7,  2024, and at Crystal Cascades on March 10, 2024.

A coroner’s report released on April 16 into the Crystal Cascades death concluded that there were adequate warning signs with no recommendations for the council to take further preventative measures. 

Coroner Stephanie Williams said the Japanese visitor known as ‘Mr G’ drowned after jumping from a waterfall at Crystal Cascades. 

“He jumped into the waterway at a location where swimming was prohibited. Mr G accessed that area despite adequate signage warning of the prohibition on swimming and the dangers in the waterway,” she said.

“In my view the signage was adequate to inform Mr G of the risks in the waterway and prohibitions on swimming and diving in the area into which he jumped.”

The review will include Isabella Falls and Crystal Cascades.

A council spokesman said the council’s audit would reference learnings from a comprehensive review of safety at The Boulders, Babinda, in 2022, which was adopted by the council in January, 2023.

The audit and review will involve:

• Site identification and inspections

• Identification and assessment of current risks at each site and severity

• Investigation of potential mitigation and/or control measures for each risk at each site

• Outline of the residual risks if control measures were implemented

• Details of costs associated with proposed control and mitigation measures

• Detailing an inspection regime for each site

• Identify necessary considerations and requirements for seasonal closures if applicable, and

• Establishing an assessment framework for sites across council where safety may be an issue.

“The audit and review will be included as a component of the aquatic strategy that will be presented to council at a workshop in mid-2024,” the spokesman said. “In the interim, council will actively monitor these sites and undertaking necessary actions where possible to improve public safety.”


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