GLASS HALF FULL: Andrew Gale says ramp developments are good news for the whole region.
GLASS HALF FULL: Andrew Gale says ramp developments are good news for the whole region. Toni Somes

Major decisions made as dam ramp upgrade charges forward

A $60,000 PROJECT aiming to lift the appeal of tourist attraction Leslie Dam has been years in the making and is finally taking major strides towards completion.

After a stakeholder meeting on Monday, water irrigation company Sunwater and SDRC have decided on the location of the ramp.

It will act as an extension of the road, below the fish stocking shed, and will be constructed using materials better suited to coastal areas in comparison to concrete slabs.

As well as this, the meeting revealed the depth of the ramp would increase, meaning the new ramp would go further than existing dam ramps and increase accessibility during drier conditions.

But it also means construction has to begin soon while water levels are low.

Boat licence trainer and upgrade advocate Andrew Gale, who attended the meeting, said he hoped the project would be finished by spring.

"This isn't a short-term project, this is for the use of our dams for many years to come," Mr Gale said.

"Obviously it would be a fantastic time to build it now, before the wetter months when rain events can occur, but if that happens I'll be happy regardless.

"It's a glass half full, I don't think too many people will be mad about rain."

Mr Gale believes the upgrade will help boost tourism on the Southern Downs as concerns grow about pressure drought is putting on businesses.

"It should be the jewel in the crown of tourism in Warwick," Mr Gale said.

"It's really underdeveloped as far as the economic potential of it.

"It brings hundreds of vehicles to Warwick every weekend, with the majority driving down from Toowoomba."

Mr Gale said issues concerning bogging and water safety were deterring tourists from coming to the dam more frequently.

"Other places have boat ramps," Mr Gale said.

"If (people unfamiliar to the dam) come here, we want them to come back and maximise the potential of dam.

While the project has had its fair face of opponents who believe the dam is getting too low to be used recreationally, Mr Gale hoped that day was far away.

"I don't want to see them come out and say we can't use it," he said.

"Personally, I think it's a long way from that.

"There's hazards as it gets shallower but there's hazards in Moreton Bay and in the canals in the Gold Coast.

"Every single person should be aware of their responsibility and drive to those conditions."