THE neglected Yarrowee River is set for a makeover with plans for litter traps, tree plantings and improved pedestrian pathways under a state government project to beautify the waterway and its surrounds.
The ‘Breathing life back into the Yarrowee River’ initiative was allocated $1 million over three years in the May 2012 budget.
Yesterday in The Courier, residents expressed shock at the state of the natural attraction.
Regular walkers complained of household litter and shopping trolleys being dumped in the river.
The area is also being used as a motorbike racing track and the river bank is being spray painted with graffiti and tags.
James Martin, spokesman for Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith, said the government had given funds for the first phase of the project.
“Corangamite Catchment Management Authority and the City of Ballarat, who are jointly managing the project, will meet soon to create a detailed project plan after the first phase of funding was made available at the beginning of July 2013,” Mr Martin said.
“The total funding will be used to undertake... the design and installation of litter traps to reduce impact to the Yarrowee and downstream waterways.
“The management of weeds including periwinkle, hemlock, ivy, exotic grasses and blackberry, and planting of indigenous shrubs and trees along stream banks in important habitat areas.”
The project will also see improvement of pathways to enhance access by pedestrians and cyclists as well as community activities promoting the health of the river.
“The rate of urban development has placed many pressures on the catchment, including erosion, litter, reduced vegetation and lowered water quality,” Mr Martin said.
“The initiative aims to restore key components of the river as a first step to returning the health of this urban waterway, providing the local community of Ballarat increased scope for recreational, social, environmental and sporting activities.”
City of Ballarat general manager city infrastructure Eric Braslis said the Yarrowee River project would be managed by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority in conjunction with the council.
“Council’s understanding is that the CCMA will receive funding from the state government for the project and further announcements are expected about the project in coming months,” Mr Braslis said.