Recently erected entry signage and plantings have sprung up across the Gwydir River foreshore at Bingara in the final stages of its drought relief funding. This signage was vital to install to allow locals and visitors to easily identify each area as some locations are known by multiple names. As a result, in emergency situations, it helps to navigate emergency services to the required location quickly.
“A consultation was conducted with key stakeholders including the Bingara Information Centre, Gwydir Ark and the Bingara Anglers Club, to determine the names of the areas which the signs would be erected as well as their design,” explains Saul Standerwick, Gwydir Shire Council’s Environment and Sustainability Manager.
“For example, the Gravel Screen is also known as Betts Quarry but there is also Betts Access Road on the other side of the river. So to avoid confusion, we opted to name that area as the Gravel Screen as there are remnants of a gravel screen from Bingara’s early settlement days there.”
The materials used in the design was weathertex in a black steel frame. The weathertex is a wooden textured synthetic that blends in with the river’s natural bushland, whilst avoiding the high maintenance associated with timber structures. The name of each area was lasered into the synthetic.
“As part of the funding, we were also able to plant native trees in the area to help maintain and grow the river’s natural environment state,” said Saul. These trees are multipurpose, to grow the natural environmental state of the Gwydir River foreshore as well as use environmental design to regulate behaviour on the river front.
“We planted trees along the foreshore in the River Common to stop people from illegally towing someone from a vehicle down the river as this destroys the banks and could be potentially dangerous, causing injury to those involved,’ said Saul.
“Although signs were installed to advise campers about non-camping areas, if they arrived in the dark, confusion often ensued so we have now planted a row of trees to regulate campers’ access.”
The signage was a balance between the Council’s regulatory and compliance policies as well as preserving the natural habitat and serenity that locals and visitors come here to enjoy. In conjunction with the entry signs, the Gwydir Ark were pivotal in designing their four signs about the impacts of collecting firewood and logs that are used for habitats. “The community consultation has been pivotal in this development.”
“We had our own compliance and regulatory standards whilst the other sections were driven by the local users as well as the tourist and information services of Council as they are the contact points with the outside Shire users such as the Grey Nomads.”
The Gwydir River still attracts many visitors and locals to the area, despite its primitive camping with no amenities and limited facilities, thanks to its peaceful bushland setting along the river’s edge.
“This signage demonstrates the excellent work by council staff, the invaluable input by the user groups in all the consultation stages to achieve sections of the Gwydir Shire Council’s Riverfront Management Plan and improve the Gwydir River foreshore for all future users,” said Saul.