Council pulls plug on waterhole
TENSIONS have bubbled to the surface at Wallangarra after council drained Beehive Dam without informing residents their favourite water hole would be drying up - albeit temporarily.
Wallangara resident Kerri-Anne Springborg said she was shocked to discover the recreational hot spot was emptied without any community consultation and described the results as an environmental disaster.
"The dam is located on my brother-in-law's property and he and the whole community is in a state of shock because of the actions of the council," she said.
"The council has to be held responsible for the disaster it has created."
She said the popular fishing spot was a habitat for many endangered species including long neck turtles, red spiky crayfish, catfish and many species of frogs.
"The local residents and fishing clubs have been stocking the dam for over 30 years and now that has all been lost," she said.
"Dead fish have been found up to 1km from the outlet."
She said breeding stock of cod, yellowbelly, silver perch and local catfish, unique to the area, had all perished when the dam's storage was fully released.
"The creek the dam was released into goes underground and the small amount of remaining water is inadequate to support any fish that did survive the draining," she said.
"The local people and surrounding visitors to the dam have now been deprived of the popular recreational area."
Mrs Springborg believes there was no study done on the environmental impact of draining the dam.
"It will be decades before the dam will ever be full again, or attractive and the damage that has already been done is irreversible," she said.
"There were measures which could have been implemented to save the fish. For example, a levy to hold back some water, netting the fish to relocate them, and many other possibilities, to allow the work to be performed.
"I hope my quest for compensation to the community of Wallangarra will be heard."
Council Engineering Services Director Peter See said the dam was drained to enable the water outlet to be replaced.
"It was under water and under 70 years of silt," he said.
"Council obtained the relevant approvals before doing the works. Once completed, it will be refilled."
The Daily News attempted to contact the council for further information about how and when the dam would be refilled and whether it would be restocked but no-one was available for comment due to the council office being closed for the holiday period.