Northcott Centre and waterslide to be replaced in Copeton Dam safety upgrade

September 4, 2010

Construction of a new building to replace the current Northcott Centre at the Copeton Waters State Recreation Park is underway, with more major changes to the park to follow.  The changes were necessary due to the $60 million Copeton Dam safety upgrade.

Representatives from State Water held a meeting at Copeton to provide an update on the project.

Meeting at Copeton Dam
In front of the soon-to-be replaced Northcott Centre, Senior Assett Field Officer at Copeton Dam Nathan Bourke, Project Manager Nava Jeyachandran, SES represenatives, Gwydir Shire Local Controller, Peter O’Brien, NW Region Deputy Region Controller Steve Basham, and Bingara Unit Controller Peter Turnbull, and Gwydir Shire Council Environmental Services Manager, Glenn Pereira

The upgrade includes construction of a 250 metre long fuse-plug spillway at Diamond Bay to enable the dam to withstand an extreme flood.

State Water Project Manager, Nava Jeyachandran told the meeting “the dam is safe for day to day operation. The upgrade is for an extreme flood.”

Most of the time, he said, the dam holds less than 75 percent capacity, but State Water needs to ensure the dam is able to cope with an extreme event.

While construction is underway, a temporary road will be built, then another raised road in the current position will be built.

All new facilities will be placed closer together than at present.

A new visitors Centre is being built in the area formerly occupied by caravan parking. In front of the new building, a ‘spray park’ will be built, and a picnic area established.  This will take the place of the current waterslide.  The new area will be more attractive to younger children, will be safer and less expensive to operate.

Also to be built are a new Manager’s residence, workshop and boat sheds.

Work on the spillway will start early next year, and will take about 18 months to complete.

The upgrade is to comply with safety requirements, and will not increase the storage capacity of the dam.