Channel works to reduce water loss

AXED. Glenn Hall has voiced concerns regarding the removal of trees along two of Cohuna’s water channels.COHUNA’S skyline will change dramatically next week when almost 50 trees are chopped down on the banks of an irrigation channel.

This comes despite ongoing concerns raised by some residents, including those whose urban properties’ back onto the channel.

Community consultation has meant that the number of trees affected is significantly lower than the original 90 that were earmarked for removal.

Forty-seven trees, including more than 30 mature red gum trees, will be removed next Tuesday along a 2.92-kilometre section of the 2/3 and 1/2/3 irrigation channel that flows through the town.

This is to allow work to begin next month on reducing water loss through evaporation, leaks and seepage.

Atalie Warren, whose property backs onto the channel, moved from Wallan six years ago to experience the tranquillity of the area.

“I am a little bit worried that the value of my house will drop. Two 30-metre high trees will be lopped, and native birds won’t return,” she said.

Mrs Warren said she has no objection to the work being carried out, and the need to save water, but is concerned about the number of trees being removed and the aftermath.

“Goulburn-Murray Water has done a good job in scaling back the number of trees that were originally earmarked for removal, but the impact is still being felt widely,” she said.

“There will be workers using heavy machinery, generating increased amount of noise, and how will they manage the amount of mud spread?

“GMW has listened to the public, and it was in the best interest to amend the original plans or face an uproar.”

A community focus group, comprising community members, met for the third time on Wednesday and discussed access, timing of works, potential haulage routes and pedestrian access on the eve of the works commencing.

Despite the continued concern expressed by residents, GMW project manager, Jason Williamson said the outcome for stage one of the remediation works “strikes a balance between improving water delivery and the recreational use of the area”.

Focus group member, Glenn Hall said progress has been made since the first focus group meeting.

“It would be ideal to lose none [trees]. I think that is completely impossible, but certainly we need to target as many as we can to save them, not to get rid of them,” he said.

The focus group is especially concerned about the future of a towering century-old red gum, located at the end of Westbrook Street, Cohuna.

“It is beside the bridge, a lovely shape and the colours of the bark really stand out,” Mr Hall said.

“We have the water and the trees…that is our icon. We just don’t want to lose it.”

Mr Williamson said the rural water supplier is working with community representatives to enable the tree to remain, but would not guarantee its survival.

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