Bourchiers Rd, Kangaroo Ground. The gate has been opened.
Closure of popular Yarra River public access at Bourchiers Road.
For those following the closure of the Bourchiers Rd access to the river issue, we have been notified by Council of the reopening of the gate. The notice does NOT say the gate will be removed.
“Grading of the road and car parking area, along with improvements to the CFA water fill point will make access to the river reserve easier and safer for visitors and emergency services. Please be aware that in coming months “No Standing” and other parking signs will be installed along Bourchiers Rd and the car park. Two accessible parking bays will be established. The car park area will also be monitored to ensure compliance with the parking arrangements and continued unobstructed CFA vehicle access to the fill point.”
Imagine the surprise of a local resident whose family has been using this river access for fifty years when he tried to access it on a really hot day last summer only to be confronted with a locked gate and receiving a dirty look from a local resident! The sign on the gate said the road was closed for refurbishment of the river reserve and the removal of some vegetation. This has caused a furore and a huge petition has been running at the St Andrews Market calling for its reopening.
Friends of Nillumbik strongly objects to the closure of public access to a well loved, favourite swimming spot on the Yarra river, seemingly at the request of a few privileged landowners.
Residents and also the Warrandyte Diary asked us for comment and we made the following statement to the press and also put it up on Facebook. (Remember this is the Council that was going to solve any perceived transparency problems!)
“Friends of Nillumbik has no argument with the refurbishment of the Bourchiers Road Yarra river reserve but question the timing of the closure of this public access, at the height of summer. Any necessary clearance of Burgan could have been done in a few days.
We also question the secrecy, the lack of transparency and the lack of consultation which accompanied this closure of public access. There was nothing on the Council website even though the sign on the gate suggested there was. After complaints from the community, a belated survey appeared. Questions on Facebook were fobbed off by the Bunjil Councillor Karen Egan. The Ward Councillor, Jane Ashton, made no statement as far as we are aware.
We believe that a few influential landowning locals have prevailed upon Council to close this road and perhaps they are the only ones who have keys. Does the ambulance service have keys, the SES, the CFA? If poor behaviour of a few was behind this act then we ask why should the rest of the community be punished? We believe it may put pressure on other public river access spots like Bradleys Lane and Laughing Waters Road.”