Residents demand action on waterway 'jungle'

WHITES Road residents are tired of buck passing between government authorities and want overgrown vegetation in watercourses running into Russells Creek cleaned out.

Sue McDonough, of Whites Road, said the growth of vegetation in a Russells Creek tributary near her house, opposite the ABC Learning Centre in Warrnambool, was “out of control”.

Mrs McDonough said tall grass and other weeds were creating a fire risk and a haven for snakes,  with a number already sighted.

The snakes were of particular concern because they were close to the childcare centre, she said.

The bed of the watercourse has no visible water flow and vegetation has grown to the extent that it is blocking drains under Whites Road.

Mrs McDonough said residents had lobbied Warrnambool City Council (WCC) to slash the vegetation in the watercourse but had been told it was the responsibility of the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority (CMA).

“Why does someone from Hamilton look after our waterways?” she asked.

A WCC spokesman said it was responsible for cutting the grass along Russells Creek but was unsure who was responsible for controlling the vegetation in the creek.

A spokeswoman for the Glenelg Hopkins CMA was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Mrs McDonough said Whites Road residents maintained an area alongside the watercourse  but did not have the slashing equipment to control vegetation in the bed of the tributary.

She said that if it was slashed, residents were willing to keep it under control.

The problem also occurred last year and had become acute since the clearance of trees adjacent to the creek as part of the area’s recent development from grazing land into a housing estate.

She said a vacant block to the east of the waterway, part of a housing estate, was also contributing to the problem because it had not been slashed.

Mrs McDonough said a ridge had also developed in the bed of the tributary, spreading water over a wider area when it was flowing.

“It needs excavating to stop it (the water) spreading,” Mrs McDonough said.

Whites Road residents were due to meet with WCC representatives this afternoon to discuss the problem, she said.

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