crag newsletter - december 1997

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Canal Update -
Latest from State Govt

(crag 0497)

Funds released for plan...

In September 1997 the New South Wales Treasury advised us that the State Government had approved the Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning funding a management plan.

The decision followed twelve months of consultation with the State Government regarding the funding of a Plan of Management for the Canal Reserve by CRAG, Holroyd City Council and the Federal Member for Prospect, Janice Crosio.

In November the NSW State Government announced that funding in the order of $100,000 would be made available.

This is great news, as we were promised that work would commence on the Plan of Management 12 months ago and we were starting to lose confidence in the Government's commitment on this issue.

What happens next?

The responsibility for the development of the Plan of Management has been transferred from the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, and the Minister, Craig Knowles, to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), which operates under the New South Wales Environment Minister, Pam Allan.

The Minister's office has advised us that they are keen to get moving and want a Plan of Management produced by next Easter.

This is also great news.

However, it is important that once a Plan of Management for the land's future is produced, that zoning is changed and funds are made available to bring the plan to fruition. Part of the process of producing the plan is consultation with the public prior to the final document becoming the Canal Reserve Plan of Management.

As we have seen by the delay in funding of the management plan, and the three year battle to secure the land for use as open space, this process will not be resolved overnight.

The Prospect Lower Canal has significant heritage and environmental value to the local community. The development of a Plan of Management and the involvement of the local community in it's production is a vital step in the creation of a unique new open space area.

The Canal lands will provide a link for wildlife to Prospect Reservoir and give the community open green space now and in the future.

To refresh your memory, CRAG's Plan of Management recommended the following uses for the land in July 1996:

- back fill the canal and create a shallow naturally flowing creek

- create a bicycle/walking track along the existing canal maintenance road

- protection of a number of historic areas, the primary one being the aqueduct

- native plant regeneration

- haven for fauna

- outdoor education area for local schools.

Danger - Be careful - Protect your children!

As we have mentioned in previous newsletters the Canal Reserve is not safe.

As well as the falling hazard, presented by the concrete canal, there have been quite a number of reports of snakes on the land in recent months.

So please don't put your children's safety at risk by allowing them to play on the reserve until it is made safe and officially handed over to the public.

Season's Greeting to all our neighbours.

See you at the next CRAG meeting.

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