A PUBLIC meeting on what to do about Fish Creek’s long-term sewage and wastewater problems will be held in the Fish Creek Memorial Hall in Falls Road tonight, Wednesday March 17, 2021, from 7.30 pm for a 7.45 pm start.
Called by the Fish Creek Development Group (FCDG), the meeting will examine ways of solving the township’s obvious, ongoing and at times offensively smelly sewage predicament.
Because of current COVID-19 social gathering restrictions, only 75 people are permitted in the Memorial Hall itself.
The meeting will also be livestreamed on the Fish Creek Community Development Group’s Facebook page from 7.45 pm so people may attend remotely.
“It’s time to talk about poo and about sewage management in Fish Creek again,” FCDG president Craig Privett said.
“All opinions are welcome and encouraged from the Fish Creek community,” he said.
“This very same matter has come up a number of times before, and we will be looking at the history, the challenges, and, in particular, the way or ways forward from now on.”
The FCDG has invited representatives from South Gippsland Water and from the South Gippsland Shire Council to attend the meeting.
Craig said the FCDG has also been in contact with the Gippsland branch of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), and with local politicians including Eastern Victoria MLC Melina Bath, and Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien.
A new Fish Creek resident, Craig was quickly elected to lead the FCDG, and his first action as president was to ask his fellow members and local people alike what the important issues facing Fish Creek were.
“On the top of everyone’s list was sewerage, followed by parking,” he said.
“The town has become so busy, after the Fish Creek episode of Back Roads was screened on ABC TV, and nowadays both GPS navigation and Google Maps send you through Fish Creek on the way to Wilsons Promontory, and lots of people stop.
“The Prom Coast Festival on the Labour Day long weekend earlier this month saw the town absolutely packed with people and cars, especially on the Sunday with the Fish Creek Children’s Literature Day,” Craig said.
“The town’s ageing septic systems often aren’t coping, even with ordinary levels of local use, but when Fish Creek is full of visitors, they are simply overwhelmed.
“I heard anecdotally that someone went into a Falls Road business during the Prom Coast Festival, and the proprietor was told they worked for the EPA.
“The visitor was quite blunt about the stench they said they could easily detect out on the main street and reckoned that something official needed to be done about it,” he said.
“Fish Creek businesses, especially those offering food service, cannot grow without proper sewerage.
“It’s time to get loud, really loud, about the poo, and the blackwater and greywater that’s running down our streets and roads and standing in pools along the gutters in some of the lower parts of the town.
“This meeting is about getting the conversation started about what can be done and then it’s up to the community to keep the momentum going,” Craig said.
“The process might take five or even ten years, but we need to make a start now.”
South Gippsland Water managing director Philippe du Plessis said his organisation was “aware of some in the Fish Creek community’s desire to explore wastewater solutions.
“We have supported the community in their investigations, and a study of indicative costs was completed in around 2015 which provided a number of options for reticulation and treatment processes,” he said.
“South Gippsland Water manages reticulated sewerage systems. Townships and properties that are not connected to reticulated sewerage, like Fish Creek, manage their wastewater via a septic system, and shire councils manage these systems,” Mr du Plessis said.
“We welcome further conversations with the community.”
For more information about the Fish Creek Development Group, to register for tonight’s sewage management meeting, and what the next steps on the issue might be, contact FCDG president Craig Privett on 0400 610 409 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or find the Fish Creek Development Group on Facebook.