Bingara Riverscape Project Draft Plan

May 18, 2007

The Bingara Riverscape Plan, proposed by Bingara & District VISION 20/20 has been put on display. The Sketch Map along with an artist’s impression by Bingara artist Mark Smith are available for viewing at Gwydir Shire Council’s Bingara Office.

Chairperson for the Project, Jill Herring, is excited by the simplicity of the proposal and its anticipated practical attractiveness to both visitors and local people.

“We have held two public meetings, one on the site last year and a second using the Bingara Central School’s Information Technology Room last month.” Jill said. “We have taken on board many different ideas and suggestions and come up with a plan that involves using the site to enhance our town and its beautiful river.”

The Bingara Riverscape Project involves the parcel of land extending from Gwydir River Trail Rides on the west to the northern end of Junction Street on the east, and from the “20 year” flood level south to Keera Street.

“The area is currently a sad, unkempt area of rough grass and a few trees,” said Jill. “Our Project is designed to highlight the natural features of the area and its aspect above the river, and to provide some passive space for people to walk, picnic, birdwatch, and play with simply amenities and more shade.”

The accompany sketch map shows the suggested features of the Project. It is designed to prevent cars and horses having access to the recreation area while still enabling them to access the river bank area.

The access road is an extension of Maitland Street which sweeps around to the east on a gentle gradient and ends where the current access road reaches the river flats. “The road will fulfill a second role of a barrier supporting a low bank with an unobtrusive fence that will prevent access to horses but be unseen from Keera Street.  The low bank will be topped by a pedestrian path and have a shallow ditch or “swale” on its up slope side.” Jill explained.

The swale will follow the contour around from the drain that carries stormwater from the eastern side of Maitland Street. It will slow and spread the water to allow for slow, natural infiltration. A second drain carrying stormwater from the western side of Maitland Street will be slowed and screened through a reed bed before flowing down slope below Gwydir River Rides to help water a copse of River Red Gums.

The Maitland Street – Keera Street intersection will also provide access to a car-park closely approximating the current wire fence with a barrier of rocks from around the district preventing vehicle access to the recreation area.

Two man-made structures are envisaged for the area. A toilet block at the western end of the site (in order to link to the town sewer), and a weather shed which will cover a BBQ and picnic table, at the eastern end. Again, seeking to find multiple purpose in the facilities, the weather shed may double as a bird watching blind with a screened wall overlooking the Hall’s Creek – Gwydir River junction.

Selected trees, shrubs, grasses and reeds to provide natural beauty and practical utility will be planted to accompany those already growing on the site. Input from regional forester Alex Jay has been gained to advise on the most suitable species.

The Bingara Riverscape Project has already gained interest and support from a number of Bingara organizations including, Gwydir Shire Council, Bingara Local Landcare, Bingara Garden Club and Bingara Central School. The proposal will next be put to GSC and the other required government departments for their consideration prior to the seeking of grant support and the commencement of the works.