After forty years of calling for a new weir the Wilcannia community finally has an Environmental Impact Statement to review.
Forty months after being voted in and eight months before the next election the state government has released an Environmental Impact
Statement for the people of Wilcannia to comment on.
The new weir will be located five kilometres downstream of Wilcannia and will be a metre higher than the previous weir which was in town near the hospital.
Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson said the NSW Government is investing $32 million along with the Australian Government’s $15 million to deliver greater water security and reliability to Wilcannia.
“When it comes to managing water in NSW my view is healthy rivers, healthy farms and healthy communities,” Mr Anderson said.
“The current weir was built in 1942 by hand using simple stone blocks to hold back a pool of water to support the town’s water supply but eight decades later it is no longer up to scratch.
“The new state-of-the-art weir will be fit for the 21st century and will generate social, economic and environmental benefits for the Wilcannia community.”
The weir will have an overflow, gates and a fish ladder.
When water is running low the gates and fish ladder will close, creating a pool for the town.
The EIS will be on display until 14 August 2022 at key locations around Wilcannia.
“The NSW Government takes Wilcannia’s feedback seriously, which is why every submission will be considered carefully before finalising the details of the project” said Minister Anderson.
NSW Nationals Duty MLC for Western NSW Scott Barrett said the project will be a big benefit to the local community.
“As part of our commitment to the Aboriginal Participation Plan, we introduced accredited TAFE training courses for Indigenous students to provide more education opportunities, ensuring they have the right qualifications to work on the weir project,” Mr Barrett said.
“We have already hired graduates who are helping to upgrade roads to improve access to the new weir site, while hospitality students have provided catering services for contractors, with more employment opportunities on the horizon.”
It is recognised by many that the spirit in Wilcannia lifts when water is present in the river, social and emotional wellbeing improves and more people stay in town.
Independent transcribers from the Department of Planning and Environment will be at the Wilcannia Community Hall between 21 and 26 July to record residents’ comments, making it easier for them to have a say.
Submissions can be made via the NSW Planning Portal at: planningportal.nsw.gov.au