Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey is excited about the Washpool Creek naturalisation project. Photo: Contributed
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey is excited about the Washpool Creek naturalisation project. Photo: Contributed

Getting back to nature with $2.78m for creek project

An old concrete drain will soon be transformed into a natural waterway and recreational area as part of the Washpool Creek naturalisation project.

The project, next to Baldwin Swamp, has received $2.78m in funding through the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.

Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Jack Dempsey said securing funding to undertake the project was a massive boost for the community.

“The Washpool Creek naturalisation project will see 1.4 km of concrete drain turned into a functional and vibrant open space,” Cr Dempsey said.

“This concrete drain has well exceeded its useful life and needs to be replaced so we’re taking the opportunity to do this with a best practice approach.

“A beautiful natural creek, native trees, picnic shelters and pathways and boardwalks will encourage families to use this area and interact with nature.

“As well as creating more green space in our town centre this exciting project will also see 20,000 new trees planted as part of the One Million Trees Bundaberg project.”

Environment portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said the project would see the drain reverted back to its natural state.

“About 60 years ago the school of thought was that the best way to move stormwater was through concrete channels and pipes,” Cr Honor said.

“Modern engineering knowledge and water quality analysis tells us that natural creek beds actually perform the same role as a traditional drain with the added benefit of filtering stormwater runoff.

“That means when that stormwater reaches its end location – which in this case is Baldwin Swamp – it is of a much better quality because along the way it’s been naturally treated by native plants.”

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the Washpool Creek naturalisation project had been funded in the third round of the Local Economic Recovery Program (LER), jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

“The Queensland Bushfires of late 2019 were a part of one of the worst bushfire seasons Australia has seen,” Mr Littleproud said.

“By investing in community spaces, tourism, water infrastructure and our local environment, these nine projects will create jobs, help communities recover and improve future resilience.”

Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) Steven Miles said the funding would provide a boost to the local economy.

“All of these projects have been chosen by their local communities to provide economic benefits across each local region that will contribute to their recovery and longer-term resilience,” Mr Miles said.

“We know from experience that recovery is most successful when it is locally-led and supported at the state and federal levels, and that is exactly what we are doing with this program.”

Cr Dempsey said the Washpool Creek naturalisation project would also prove cost effective, with low ongoing maintenance costs compared to traditional drainage.

“It’s such a wonderful result to see this project moving forward to create a connected space for families to walk, play and explore in,” Mayor Dempsey said.

Bundaberg Regional Council is undertaking a similar naturalisation project in Belle Eden Estate.

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