Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Wilcannia Weir – the residents are weary

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After limited local advertising, a meeting took place last Wednesday at the Hall. Forty people attended, including owners of properties up and down the river, property owners not living on the river and people from every sector of the local community.

Representatives from Water Infrastructure once again asked residents to listen to them and they would explain why the town was not getting the weir shown in the previous plan, that was the result of several years community consultation. The new design will be very similar to our old weir, with the addition of a fishway, and will be the same height. There will be no gates to allow controlled flows downstream. As the new weir will not overcome water quality problems, there is a plan to investigate the possibility of a fourth bore, somewhere north of the town.

According to the Department problems include:

  • submissions to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) said there will be an impact on the environment, which means that millions of dollars will have to be paid into the Biodiversity Offset Scheme;
  • fishway design not optimum for fish;
  • gates and extra height can be added later; and
  • noise during construction of new weir and demolition of old one.

The general feeling from the meeting was:

  • that the EIS responses were poorly handled, with little transparency, and no public knowledge of the baselines used in the assessments;
  • the weir was only one part of the bigger problem of lack of low and medium flows reaching Wilcannia as they used to’
  • if they listened to the locals, particularly on cultural heritage matters such as leaving the old weir alone, millions could be saved; and
  • invite the Minister to town so she can see for herself. 
Wilcannia News, April 2024

This article appeared in Wilcannia News, April 2024.

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