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Not Going With The Flow

By Duncan Horscroft on September 23, 2011 in News

Photo: Duncan Horscroft

In these financial hard times, and with some councils crying poor, it’s hard to fathom why Randwick Council has decided to spend $130,000 on harvesting stormwater for the irrigation of Burrows Park.

Sure, some of the water will be used to service the amenities block in the park, which of course is a good thing, but why waste water for irrigation on a sports field that sits above a natural water table and is rarely used outside of the football season.

“The Council initially tried to bore into the natural water below the rocks at Clovelly, however the water flow is not sufficient to irrigate the sports field to a suitable standard for the sporting teams, commercial fitness groups and recreational users of the park,” Randwick Council replied when queried on its reasoning.

“The cost of the project is $260,000. Sydney Water is matching Council’s contribution of $130,000, dollar for dollar.”

According to one long-term resident the Burrows Park site was once a gully with a creek running through from the top of Boundary Street to the Clovelly inlet.

This creek is now a 152cm diameter underground pipe that comes out the top of the rock shelf on the southern side of the park.

A couple of weeks ago a foul smell was wafting up from the rock platform and upon further inspection it was revealed that the water spewing from one of the pipes above was a little more than just run-off.

Tampons and toilet paper were floating amid this rancid pool, which had grey furry matter clinging to the rock crevices below, through which the water flowed into the ocean.

Not a good look at all, especially for an area that will be a popular spot for families with young children eager to splash around in the safety of the rock pools during the upcoming summer.

After reporting this pollution problem there was some action taken, the debris was removed, and cleaner water seemed to be flowing.

But the stench was still there.

Council denied there was any connection between the stormwater harvesting project and the polluted water, but the big issue is that there is still a problem that must be addressed.

Over the years the natural water table has been replaced with landfill, which extended from the Bronte cutting to the Clovelly inlet.

This was the same landfill that filled in Bronte Gully and was the result of the demolition of hundreds of houses in Bondi Junction to make way for Grace Bros, which is now Westfield.

You would never get away with covering the environment with landfill in this day and age with strict Greens policies dominating councils.

So why, with these strict policies being enforced, are councils allowed to play host to pipes on their properties that clearly contain highly-polluted water that runs into the ocean.

Harvesting stormwater is a great idea and has been successful in places such as Bronte Park.

But if the focus on harvesting ignores other water issues then the money would be better spent addressing the problem rather than potentially creating a new one.