THE Fish Creek community has scored up to $30,000 for a drainage study in South Gippsland Shire Council’s 2021/2022 budget.
Described as the “first real step” towards solving the township’s serious long-term sewage and wastewater problems, this funding was added to the shire’s budget after a submission lodged by the Fish Creek Community Development Group (FCCDG).
FCCDG president Craig Privett spoke on the submission to the Victorian Government-appointed administration panel acting as the council during the annual budget community consultation hearing on Wednesday June 2, 2021.
The submission asked the shire for “$32,676.60 including GST” to pay for an RMIT engineering team to investigate Fish Creek’s existing onsite wastewater systems and possible short- and long-term affordable solutions, commissioned by the FCCDG.
Appeals for an effective traffic management system and more car parking areas as well as for a recreational vehicle dump point in Fish Creek were also included in the FCCDG submission.
“We got exactly what we wanted in regard to the funding for the drainage study,” Mr Privett said.
“Being allocated this money provides a lot of hope for the Fish Creek community, as it is the first real step towards achieving our main goal after taking a lot of incremental steps,” he said.
“The fact that the council has added $30,000 to its budget shows that the shire has acknowledged that there really is a problem that needs addressing here in Fish Creek.
“The money allows us to explore leading edge, new age options to find town-specific solutions that will suit our community without relying on old and out-dated technology,” Mr Privett said.
“The sewerage scheme study that South Gippsland Water (SGW) undertook in Fish Creek several years ago is now obsolete.
“The FCCDG is waiting for a memorandum of understanding from SGW, and we’ve already got a written agreement that SGW will work with the RMIT team, with Yarra Valley Water (YVW), and with any other interested stakeholders.
“RMIT introduced us to YVW, which has given us some really innovative and modern ideas on ways to effectively manage black and grey wastewater in a township that’s set in a hilly, high rainfall area, and is very similar to Warburton,” he said.
“The FCCDG would like to get local groups like Landcare involved and we know that working together will help to get the right answers for our community.”
The shire’s 2021/2022 annual budget submission summary referred to all three of the FCCDG’s topics, namely “Sewerage Connection to Fish Creek Township”, “Traffic and Parking Study”, and “RV Dump Site”.
The summary stated that “the provision of town sewerage to Fish Creek is desirable, as it is with other non-sewered townships in South Gippsland Shire.
“Council will continue to advocate to South Gippsland Water and the state government for provision of sewerage to these townships including Fish Creek.
“Council has also incorporated up to $30,000 funding in the 2021/22 budget to contribute to the Fish Creek drainage study”, the summary announced.
It continued, “the traffic and parking study will be accommodated within the allocated funds from our Sealed Road Rehabilitation Program in the current Budget” and that “the traffic parking study will be carried out during the 2021/22 financial year to inform the design work programmed for the same year.”
Fish Creek’s bid for its own dump point was however knocked back by the council.
The budget submission summary stated that “South Gippsland is currently serviced by five public dump points and there are two public dump points located in close proximity to Fish Creek (Foster and Meeniyan) that can currently meet the needs of the travelling public.”