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Re-greening Sunset Strip

Thursday, 8th August, 2019

President of the Sunset Strip Progress Association Inc. Peter Cox (left) and past-president Keith Harris with the drill rig and bore in the background. PICTURE: Supplied President of the Sunset Strip Progress Association Inc. Peter Cox (left) and past-president Keith Harris with the drill rig and bore in the background. PICTURE: Supplied

By Callum Marshall

Sunset Strip has just started the long process of re-greening following the recent turning on of their new underground bore.

Having suffered years of drought, the drying of Menindee Lakes and the recent fish kills, the bore has helped start an ambitious greening objective that’ll see new grass, trees and even an arboretum on display.

Progress Association Secretary Barry Fowler said the opening of the bore, which took place last Sunday for National Tree Day, was a “turning point”.

“We’ve had no water for over three years in the lakes, and in the last 15 years we’ve probably had three times when the lakes have gone dry and each time we’ve lost our community lawns around the Community Centre,” he said.

“This is a bit of a turning point for us. The bore means we’ve got 100 per cent guaranteed water and we don’t have to rely on the lake.

“We’ve still got a licence to take 20 megalitres out of the lake but now we’ve got an alternative of five megalitres of groundwater.”

With the guarantee of proper, quality water, Mr Fowler said Landcare activities could now start up again.

“We can now go ahead and fire up our Landcare nursery and start growing indigenous plants,” he said.

“We’ve got about 900 seedlings pots there now and we’ve got 300 tubestock we’re going to grow and actually pot into larger pots. 

“We’ll start a lot of planting by spring next year.”

In the meantime, he said, Sunset Strip’s Drought Proof and Liveability Project was about getting the right infrastructure in place.

“In the next 12 months the big job will be erecting three overhead pressure tanks that will go out onto the Crown Reserve, and then we need to hook up the mains lines.

“We’ve got to put in lines from the bore to those three tanks and then we’ve got to have lines from there to the drip lines that’ll pop up on the Landcare areas.

“We’ll set aside 12 months for that and in the meantime we’ll be using the nursery to get plenty of stock on hand to plant out.”

Mr Fowler said the long-term plan that began in 2011 with two community forums had accrued much-needed funds from the Commonwealth and the local council, such as $15,000 from the former for 75ml of poly pipe which connects the bore to the tank, and $1500 from the latter for a pressure tank.

He said the SSPIA had also chipped in with $7000 to get the right permits and to buy the water.

But the changes to the area would be worth it, he said.

“This is a real greening of the place.

“When people come here it’s pretty depressing when you look at the brown lawns and stuff like that, so come spring this year we’ll have the new irrigation system in for the 6000 square metres of lawn.

“We’ll also be putting seed down for the lawn and that’ll be the first thing that people will see growing this summer and the following year, in spring, there will be trees out on the Crown Reserve.

“We’ve had a person with a fairly strong background helping the arboretum in Broken Hill over the years, Ann Evers.

“She’s been giving us advice on suitable shrubs, trees and grasses for the area and we will be establishing an arboretum down the track as well, similar to the one in Broken Hill. 

But more help was always welcome, said Mr Fowler.

“At this stage, we’ve got four keen permanent locals in the nursery... getting the stock together,” he said.

“Because our numbers are so small we’re very keen to have anyone or any groups outside the Strip that want to come up for a weekend, help out. 

“Whether it’s just laying out a drip line, at this stage that’s the sort of stuff we need.”

If you would like to get involved, you may contact Barry at secretary.sspai@hotmail.com or call him on 0437 874 071.

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