Projects & Works

Tatton Drain work hits snag

Published: 02 Oct 2018 3:55pm

The temporary Tatton Drain stormwater diversion into Lake Albert has hit a major stumbling block and work cannot start until it receives State Government approval.

Wagga Wagga City Council General Manager Peter Thompson has described the delay as a “crying shame” and called for a commonsense approach in the leadup to a predicted storm event this week.

Council has worked closely and quickly with the community and lake user groups to fast-track a temporary solution to take advantage of major storm events.

However the State Government’s Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) – NSW Department of Industry, has put a halt to this week’s planned work to erect three gates across a drainage culvert.

The department has stated that Tatton Drain is a watercourse rather than simply stormwater infrastructure, and therefore requires an approval process which could take weeks or even months.

Department representatives will travel from Dubbo on 15 October to inspect Tatton Drain as part of the approval process.

“We should be celebrating the success of local government working with the community to deliver a result which will hopefully get water into Lake Albert and alleviate algal blooms and fish kills,” Mr Thompson said.

“We have a local solution and everyone is in favour, except now we have a new challenge from the State Government which is looking at a rule book and a blue line on a map.

“Unfortunately we will now miss any looming storm event and defeat any purpose of what we’re trying to achieve while the Government is sorting itself out with its rule books. For a problem which has had very few rays of hope, it’s just a crying shame.

“The State Government said we can’t do any work until it’s processed at their end. We are doing the applications now.

“At the local government level, we have moved incredibly nimbly with the community to achieve a solution. Unfortunately the State Government has not shown the same preparedness to work with the community and find solutions rather than processes.”

Mr Thompson said late last week he was hoping common sense would prevail to find a solution that would provide some level of comfort for the community, to show that Government is working in its favour.

“As of Friday there was no light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

“If we could, at least, get an approval to construct the gates over the culvert while we are debating whether it is a watercourse, let’s construct them, let’s capture the water if there is a storm event, and if we don’t get final approval then we can always pull them out.”

Mr Thompson said the gates across the culvert was only a temporary measure and that applications for grant funding were being submitted for a more permanent solution.