4Rs CAM­PAIGN IS OFF AND RAC­ING

Ap­peal to re­in­state wa­ter sup­ply

Campaspe News - - FRONT PAGE - By KIM­BER­LEY PRICE

A DEL­E­GA­TION of lo­cals have taken it upon them­selves to rein­vig­o­rate the Rochester Race­course Recre­ation Re­serve (The 4Rs).

Head­ing to Echuca last Tues­day af­ter­noon, the 4Rs spokesper­son Rus­sell Ma­jor, pres­i­dent Don Thomp­son, Cam­paspe Golf Club pres­i­dent Rod­ney McAsey and sec­re­tary Naida Belot asked Cam­paspe Shire Coun­cil to re­in­state the wa­ter to the re­serve as soon as pos­si­ble.

In 2010, fol­low­ing the clo­sure of the Cam­paspe Ir­ri­ga­tion District due to the mil­len­nium drought, the wa­ter from Cam­paspe River for the re­serve was stopped. The money gained by the shire in this move was given back to the Rochester com­mu­nity and spent on ini­tia­tives such as the re­cent up­grade of the ten­nis club.

Since then, the re­serve has been re­ly­ing on the four dams on the 100-acre site to wa­ter and keep the golf fair­ways healthy. How­ever, with the re­cent lack of rain, more wa­ter is needed.

“We have been bat­tling since the wa­ter was taken away,” Mr Ma­jor said.

“As rain is get­ting less and less, we need a re­li­able wa­ter source as backup to our dams.”

The group trav­elled to Echuca to take the first step in get­ting the wa­ter back. In a brief­ing, Mr Ma­jor spoke for about 20 min­utes and was asked five ques­tions by the coun­cil­lors about the process of the wa­ter re­turn­ing. “We were pleased with their re­sponses,” Mr McAsey said.

“They seem to be more pos­i­tive and un­der­stand­ing of our sit­u­a­tion.”

Mayor Adrian Weston was sym­pa­thetic to the group and the wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion.

‘‘The del­e­ga­tion talked about the fu­ture of the re­serve and ex­pressed their views about it be­ing a val­ued as­set of the Rochester com­mu­nity, used by sev­eral groups,’’ he said.

‘‘They have had a few con­ver­sa­tions with coun­cil about their de­sire to se­cure a reg­u­lar wa­ter sup­ply for the re­serve to make it bet­ter and sus­tain­able into the fu­ture.

‘‘Their fo­cus is to get more wa­ter onto the re­serve for the ben­e­fit of the com­mu­nity.’’

At the mo­ment, the golf club can only wa­ter the tees of the golf course and it is only us­ing nine of the 18 holes.

The group is hop­ing the re­serve’s wa­ter can be re­in­stalled to ser­vice the whole com­mu­nity. As the ground is in the heart of the town, many mem­bers of the Rochester com­mu­nity use the re­serve ev­ery day for walk­ing, school ac­tiv­i­ties and, of course, golf. It is also one of the very few sand scrape cour­ses in Vic­to­ria that is open 365 days of the year.

The re­serve and pav­il­ion have been the des­ti­na­tion for many func­tions and wed­dings over the years. How­ever, in the cur­rent dried state, the venue is less ap­peal­ing for such func­tions. But with more wa­ter, the re­serve would be re­stored to its for­mer, beau­ti­ful glory.

If wa­ter was to be re-al­lo­cated to the re­serve, the 4Rs group says area would once again be a thriv­ing com­mu­nity cen­tre.

“The whole course is all set up with sprin­klers,” Mr McAsey said. “But there is just no wa­ter. “It’s such a waste.” Now, af­ter the ini­tial brief­ing, the 4Rs and Cam­paspe Golf Club will wait un­til to hear from the Cam­paspe Shire Coun­cil about what its next steps will be.

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