We're here to save our weir
BANGALOW residents will meet next month to discuss the future of the damaged Bangalow Weir, which is now in danger of complete collapse.
The popular picnic and swimming spot, known locally as the Bangalow Pool, has been fenced off to the public since a section of the 90-year-old wall partially collapsed last year.
Faced with a repair bill of more than $1 million, Byron Shire Council has opted for a $20,000 study to work out how to deal with the problem, but as the cracks grow, so do fears that it will be lost forever.
Christobel Munson of the Bangalow Community Alliance said Bangalow could lose an important link with its past. The weir was built by residents in the 1920s as a swimming pool and generations of Bangalow children had learnt to swim there. Popular swimming and diving competitions were held there in the 30s, and families had continued to use it as a swimming hole until the weir's failure last year.
"It was a big part of the community and is still a part of the community's memory," she said.
The weir's failure is also having environmental impacts. Bangalow Rivercare president David Pont said there was a well known platypus colony upstream of the weir, which had been impacted by the sudden drop in water levels.
"For 2km along the along the river, we had a drop in the water level of one to one and a half metres in the space of a week," he said.
Along with exposing platypus holes, the drop had encouraged an invasion of the noxious weed, blue taro. Mr Pont said whether the weir should stay or go was a matter for debate, but the collapse should have been handled better to minimise the impacts on the environment.
"We think it was possible to do a temporary repair and keep the water level up while the community made a decision," he said.
A community forum on the weir will be held at the Bangalow Museum, 6pm, Tuesday, February 7.