Salut­ing El­iz­a­beth

The Daily Examiner - - YOUR SAY -

I CAME to the Clarence in 1952 af­ter leav­ing Mel­bourne. I was ex­tremely im­pressed with the beauty of the Clarence River of which there was no com­par­i­son with the Yarra River in Mel­bourne.

What most im­pressed me was El­iz­a­beth Is­land. Peo­ple would go there for pic­nics and sport­ing events. The lessee of the is­land kept it clean with graz­ing cattle. The goats on the is­land would con­trol the nox­ious weeds.

In the 1980s a change oc­curred whereby the is­land was ad­min­is­trated by trustees. They told the lessee of the is­land to re­move the cattle and shoot the goats.

As a re­sult, 30 years later it has be­come a to­tal wilder­ness with nox­ious weeds in par­tic­u­lar lan­tana, to­bacco bush and cas­tor oil, with many other nox­ious weeds which has an enor­mous im­pact on the flow of the river at flood time.

The flow is be­ing di­verted to left and right of the is­land do­ing tremen­dous dam­age to the em­bank­ments not to men­tion the silt­ing up of the river. It will cost thou­sands of dol­lars to rock pro­tect and re­store the em­bank­ment at the tax­pay­ers’ ex­pense.

Not so long ago the coun­cil en­gaged five en­gi­neers who came to give ad­vice on how to min­imise flood­ing. Those en­gi­neers came from Delph Univer­sity with ex­per­tise in wa­ter man­age­ment.

The pol­icy over­seas ex­pressed by them to the rel­e­vant par­ties to look af­ter the river was the com­plete op­po­site of cur­rent prac­tice. The pol­icy which seems to pre­vail by the trustees is to pro­mote the growth of trees and undesirable veg­e­ta­tion with­out any man­age­ment plan seem­ingly im­ple­mented.

With the pop­u­lar­ity of Cor­co­ran Park at times be­ing very over­crowded, it would be wise to re­store El­iz­a­beth Is­land to the former glory days of the past. This would be of tremen­dous ben­e­fit to both the ratepay­ers and tourists of Grafton.

If how­ever, no funds are avail­able to clean the mess the is­land is cur­rently in, we may be able to get some brumbies from the Mt Kosciusko Na­tional Park which will do the job.

Af­ter some re­search I have come to know in the 2014 to 2016 pe­riod there was a $99,000 grant given to main­tain and con­trol the veg­e­ta­tion (nox­ious weeds) which was given to both Su­san and El­iz­a­beth Is­land.

Liv­ing across from the Is­land since 1975 I know there has been no ac­tiv­ity on the is­land that has been of any worth­while ben­e­fit to El­iz­a­beth Is­land.

What I have ob­served is that the ve­loc­ity of the river has in­creased due to the ob­struc­tion that the veg­e­ta­tion on the is­land pro­vides in flood time hav­ing a neg­a­tive in­put along the river.

I be­lieve new trustees should be ap­pointed to look at the is­sue with fresh eyes. With ap­point­ments due next year, per­haps it is time for a dif­fer­ent cross sec­tion of the com­mu­nity to take over the is­sue.

Lau­rie Van De Velde, Grafton

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