Restoring the River to its rightful place
When the first European settlers travelled up the Parramatta River looking for more suitable land to grow their crops, they did not anticipate the stress that would ultimately be placed on the River and its environs.
Used initially as a receptacle for human and other waste and later built upon, over the years the River has suffered extensive degradation. Community surveys have pinpointed rehabilitation of the River as a high priority. With an anticipated increase in development, Council is determined to offset any additional stresses to this environment.
Through smart engineering, education and partnerships with other interested bodies, such as the Upper Parramatta River Catchment Trust, Council is working to restore the River to the people of Parramatta, reinstating it as the focal point of the City.
During 1998, the channel was drained of silt, weeds and debris, which had an immediate effect on water quality. The emphasis is now on preventative measures. Traps to stop litter, oil, sediment and other pollutants from reaching the River are being installed. These plastic traps will also be useful for analysing the types of pollution that enter the waterway at different points.
Complementing this work is an extensive community education program. This has been enthusiastically supported by local school children who have developed slogans for steel painted signs to be placed at kerbs. The signs will remind people of how their behaviour can compromise the River, Sydney Harbour and ultimately the ocean.
Beautification works, including a pathway featuring Aboriginal art, are also bringing the River back to life. This work will make the River foreshores more accessible to the general public, at the same time making people more aware of how their behaviour can affect water quality
In addition, new developments are being encouraged to face the River and a 30 metre easement must be provided for public access. Council is confident these measures will go a long way to re-creating Parramatta River as a focus for recreation and tourism in the City.