Federal resident Jenny McGuire.
Federal resident Jenny McGuire.

Jenny left in limbo

HEAVY machinery is moving mountains at Federal for the first stage of the Curra to Cooroy Bruce Highway upgrade, but just across the road Jenny McGuire is stuck in limbo.

Ms McGuire has been living beside a construction site for months, enduring dust storms at times, and the only way out for her is to sell her Skyring Creek Road property at a greatly devalued price.

For years the State Government tried to acquire her property to make way for the Traveston Crossing dam. Now her tranquil rural lifestyle is being bulldozed right in front of her for the highway upgrade.

On Remembrance Day last year Ms McGuire received the shattering news that the builder of the proposed Traveston Crossing dam, Queensland Water Infrastructure, was no longer interested in buying her property.

Ms McGuire, who said she had a handshake agreement with QWI to buy her out, said her lawyer passed on the no-sale decision on November 11 – the day federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett stopped the dam.

Most of her neighbours had already sold to QWI, and those who stayed on leased their homes back, so they are not as badly affected by the towering construction mounds across the way.

But Ms McGuire can feel her property value sink, along with her spirits, with every passing day.

She is left with the option of trying to privately sell up on the doorstep of a future four-lane highway.

“I’m in the process of getting another valuation on my property to see what the devaluation is, so I can make a compensation claim,” Ms McGuire said.

“I’m virtually living in a quarry. We’ve had six to seven weeks of dust storms, though they have done their best to water the dust down.

“The dust has been getting into the creek and silting it up so my horses can’t drink the water.

“Now they’re about to start blasting.”

Ms McGuire said the earthmoving contractors, Abigroup Construction, had been carting in water for her seven horses.

Last month the federal and state governments announced the second lot of contracts for the $613 million joint project.

Queensland Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace said the second package, awarded to Fulton Hogan, was “critical to fast-tracking the project”.

“This package of work will build a two-kilometre southern deviation off the Bruce Highway near Federal, between Sankeys Road and Middle Creek Road, allowing for construction of new bridges over Skyring Creek,” Mr Wallace said.

“This work is not a temporary measure but will form part of the overall 12-kilometre alignment.

“Weather permitting, duplication of the entire 12-kilometre Section B is expected to be completed in 2012.”

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