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MP lends his support to weir pool petition

Wednesday, 16th June, 2010

* Wilcannia resident Peter Crombie, MP John Williams and DRAG's Mark Hutton. * Wilcannia resident Peter Crombie, MP John Williams and DRAG's Mark Hutton.

A 500-signature petition calling for the relocation of the Wilcannia weir will be tabled in NSW Parliament next week.

The Darling River Action Group handed the petition to the Member for Murray-Darling, John Williams, yesterday in the hope that he could expedite the process of moving the weir from its current location upstream near the hospital to downstream below the bridge.
DRAG's chairman Mark Hutton said the measure would create jobs, tourism opportunities and bring back morale.
"It would be a boon for Wilcannia," Mr Hutton said.
"Hopefully, John can push this through to the relevant authorities as an urgent matter."
Mr Hutton said the petition was organised after he was approached by a cross-section of the Wilcannia community, including Aboriginal elders, who could see that having permanent water would help their community.
"This weir pool would be a tremendous asset to the township and would not only be a reliable source of town water ... it would also be a major draw card for the thousands of tourists that currently pass through Wilcannia without stopping," he said.
"The environmental benefits would include permanent deep water pools for native fish and wildlife. These pools would preserve breeding stock during drought and increasingly long periods between flows that we now experience.
"Native trees and shrubs along the river would also benefit from the permanent water supply."
Mr Hutton said a permanent weir pool would also create employment.
"With permanent water the opportunity for industries such as a paddle steamer  for cruises on the Darling, walking trails along the river, camp and picnic areas, an indigenous cultural centre, paddle steamer museum (would flourish)," he said.
Mr Williams said he supported the petition and would speak on the petition in Parliament next week.
He said he believed it would have a positive impact on the community.
"It would retain a weir pool for the community of Wilcannia (and) no doubt having a full river ... would lift the spirits and the community would be pleased to see that it had some water under the bridge," Mr Williams said.
"It would be good for community moral, for recreational activities which Wilcannia desperately needs to develop."
Mr Hutton said they were not looking at increasing the amount of water the weir held, just relocating it.

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