Barwon Water is continuing to progress planning for removal of the four of the 14 spans of the aqueduct structure in accordance with a Heritage Victoria permits granted on 16 November 2020.
The works will ensure public safety and improve public access to the Barwon River and surrounding land, while balancing heritage values, Aboriginal cultural values and managing costs for our customers.
A planning permit application to remove a minimal area of native vegetation required to facilitate the partial demolition, structural propping and associated Barwon River Ovoid Sewer Aqueduct works was lodged with City of Greater Geelong on Friday 19 March 2021.
The native vegetation proposed to be removed, which is under and beside the aqueduct structure, will be offset with vegetation elsewhere on the site. The area will also be revegetated once the works are completed.
We anticipate commencing the aqueduct works (including structural propping, demolition and fencing) when it's drier later this year or in early 2022, when works in the waterway are safe to be undertaken. We will keep the community informed on our progress for the works and further opportunities to get involved.
Porronggitj Karrong project
We are also progressing the Porronggitj Karrong project working in partnership with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners to rehabilitate the 66 hectares of public open space surrounding the aqueduct.
The project aims to provide a place where Aboriginal, heritage and community values can be brought together using Traditional Owner practices.
The Wadawurrung-Barwon Water partnership team is currently undertaking research, due diligence studies and on the ground works to listen and learn from Country at Porronggitj Karrong. These initiatives have been identified by our Traditional Owners Wadawurrung as key priorities to assist us in developing a full understanding of site’s values.
We are committed to ensuring the community is kept informed and has an opportunity to have input into these important projects.
We are currently developing a community engagement plan, outlining opportunities for the community to be involved including for example, in the development of an interpretation plan for the aqueduct as part of a wider plan for the area.
We have established an agency reference group, including key stakeholders from Wadawurrung, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority and City of Greater Geelong, which met for the first time in March. All attendees were positive about the partnership with Wadawurrung and proposed approach to the project. The group will meet again at the end of April.