Featured / News / Community / Education / Sport / 15th July 2021
Community groups unite for river rejuvenation
Warrumbungle Shire Council mayor, Cr Ambrose Doolan has a vision of a revitalised Castlereagh River system - and that vision is now one step closer to fruition.
More than $100,000 in grant funding could kick start the system’s rejuvenation between the top and bottom weirs at Coonabarabran.
Cr Doolan has asked for $75,000 from the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure grant be put towards the restoration. His request was included in Council’s business paper and will be voted on at today’s monthly meeting.
If successful, funding will not be available until the end of the year, but Cr Doolan said it would be a fantastic start.
Wes Leedham, from Castlereagh Connections, has been working closely with the mayor and a number of other organisations in a bid to get something happening.
He also applied for $50,000 in funding earlier this year.
Mr Leedham admitted the money wouldn’t go far, but insisted it was a step in the right direction.
“Obviously $50,000 won’t go very far, but if the $75,000 grant comes through as well, there will be over $100,000 to put toward it - and that’s a great starting point,” Mr Leedham said.
Mr Leedham credited several groups for their continued efforts towards the river system rejuvenation and said any upcoming work was just a continuation of what the Coonabarabran Landcare Group had completed so far.
“I don’t want to take all the credit - those guys have been working on it for years,” he explained.
“We’ve come in and done a bit of work, but they’ve done a lot over the years.
“We’d be looking at different patches of the river to begin to restore - the sections that we think would benefit the most.”
In the long term, Mr Leedham said he wanted to see a river that was healthy, attractive and able to be utilised by the wider community.
“I’d like to see kids swimming in there, knowing they’re not going to get crook from the water quality or injured from objects in the water,” he said.
“There needs to be a really good park there, a nice walking, jogging, cycling track and just an appreciation of the area and what it means, especially with the Mary Jane Cain bridge.”
Cr Doolan said Council staff were already working on methods to revive the river.
“They have been working on and researching the best ways to clean it all up - how to do it, what to use, if there's a need for chemicals to get rid of the noxious weeds etc.," Cr Doolan said.
"We want park life on both sides of the river to make it a real drawcard for people.”
Cr Doolan said the funding applications were a good start, but now it was a matter of “watch this space”.
“There are different funding opportunities that come up all the time that are in the millions of dollars,” he said.
“While this is a good start, we will be waiting for more funding availability to open up.”