The whale-sized stink that forced council to act
SUNSHINE Coast Council's decision to remove a humpback whale carcass from its beach burial site at Wurtulla came after it was placed under sustained pressure from surfers, community, groups and representations from Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie.
The decision has avoided the embarrassment of a community Gofundme campaign to pay for the private removal of the carcass and has stopped plans for a rates boycott by neighbouring residents.
Windansea Boardriders president Terry Landsberg said the community should congratulate itself for the manner it had signalled its willingness to protect the ocean environment so many of us live here to enjoy.
He said beach goers shared a common purpose to protect that environment and to keep it safe.
Bernard Lunke, whose home is closest to where the carcass was buried had earlier warned blood would be on the council's hands if an attack was to occur.
He said the sooner the carcass was removed the better for everyone's safety.
"This has been a no brainer," he said. "It is 200m from a patrolled beach and at one of the Sunshine Coast's most popular surfing breaks.
"This is not a remote part of Fraser Island. It's a built up area with residential homes."
Mr Bleijie said while he was rapt with the decision he remained perplexed why it hadn't happened sooner.
Earlier Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles had called for a summit involving government departments, the Local Government Association of Queensland and the state's coastal councils to determine how to manage the issue should it arise again .
Dr Miles said the council could have avoided any risk of attracting sharks by simply removing the carcass from the beach.
By yesterday afternoon more than 5000 people had signed a petition calling for the carcass to b e removed from the beach with the incident also drawing global attention.
In a statement issued just after 4pm Sunshine Coast Council CEO Michael Whittaker announced the whale would be exhumed and the carcass removed after on-going monitoring of its condition, seeking expert advice and considering safety concerns raised by residents.
He asked residents to stay clear of the site to allow it to be removed safely and quickly.
Earlier after a slab of putrid blubber was found in the dunes near the burial site Mr Bleijie had raised health concerns calling on Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson to take immediate action to remove the carcass.
Mr Bleijie who visited the site with concerned residents, boardriders' clubs and Surfrider Foundation representatives said the smell was appalling and would get worse as skies cleared and the days heated up.
"There was whale blubber in the dunes (outside of the fenced off area), blood and guts from the whale in the fenced off area and the stench was unbearable," he said in a letter to the Minister.
"We are lucky that we have had overcast weather and rain for the past few days. Once the sun returns that area will be putrid.
"Council have not changed their decision to dig up the carcass and relocate it to the local tip.
"As a community we do not believe council are hearing or sharing our concerns.
"I would formally request that if Council refuse to act on this within the 24 hours then your Department take over the matter and dispose of the carcass."