Parramatta River Catchment Group congratulates City of Canada Bay Council on their progress in making Parramatta River swimmable again

The group behind the Our Living River campaign and mission to make the Parramatta River swimmable again has today congratulated City of Canada Bay for taking the next steps towards river activation at Brays Bay.

“This is exciting progress for Our Living River,” said Clr Mark Drury, Chair of the Parramatta River Catchment Group.

“Last week a playful seal was spotted splashing around on the river near Chiswick. Now City of Canada Bay Council has given its seal of approval to take river activation to the next steps at Brays Bay.”

City of Canada Bay is an active member of the Parramatta River Catchment Group, an alliance of councils, state government agencies and community groups who are together working to improve the Parramatta River and the creeks that flow into it.

On Tuesday night, City of Canada Bay passed a motion at their Council meeting to nominate the River Activation of Brays Bay as their priority project for submission to the state government’s Precinct Support Scheme.

The Council is seeking over $6.5 million in funding from the Department of Environment and Heritage for the design and construction of a water recreation precinct at Brays Bay in Rhodes.

The proposed River Activation includes upgrades to the adjacent foreshore, construction of a jetty or water-sport launch facilities (such as a pontoon) and investigations to determine whether Brays Bay is an appropriate swimming location on the Parramatta River.

“This opportunity is a real coup for our residents,” City of Canada Bay Mayor Tsirekas said. “The funding would allow us to transform Brays Bay into an active river site, providing locals with a landscaped foreshore where they can go for a paddle on a hot day without having to trek east to other beaches.”

“As efforts to improve water quality in the Parramatta River pay off, we can now look at natural riverfront areas as viable options for passive and active recreation for our community,” Mayor Tsirekas said.

The City of Canada Bay has implemented a raft of measures to improve river water quality, including working in partnership with all other Councils and the NSW EPA on the recent ‘Get the Site Right’ compliance blitz on construction sites to prevent pollution entering local waterways.

The Council also manages gross pollutant traps around our foreshore, operates street sweepers to keep our streets, gutters and parks clean, supports local volunteer clean-up groups and runs anti-litter educational and advertising campaigns to stop litter ending up in our bays.

Brays Bay is one of 12 potential swimming sites along the Parramatta River that have been under investigation for future swimming as part of the Parramatta River Masterplan.

There are already four natural swimming sites along the Parramatta River open for public swimming, including Chiswick Baths and Cabarita Beach in the City of Canada Bay, which are routinely monitored and reported to the public.

Sydney Water, another member of the alliance, has recently supported an in-depth water quality modelling study along the river to understand where natural swimming could be possible by 2025.

“Our recent modelling shows that it is possible that more swim sites in the lower parts of the river could be opened for natural swimming by 2025, including Brays Bay,” Clr Drury said.

“This will require additional planning controls for stormwater management, wastewater infrastructure and community education.”

The Parramatta River Masterplan to be launched later this year will provide the pathways for how the river will be made swimmable again by 2025. The Masterplan has been supported by all PRCG partners, with major funding support from Sydney Water and the NSW Environment Protection Authority.


New Chair and Vice Chair announced

We recently welcomed our new Chair of the Parramatta River Catchment Group, Clr Mark Drury, who is an experienced Inner West Councillor and established member of the Parramatta River Catchment Group. Clr Drury said that “the PRCG is a dynamic and cooperative organisation that has already improved our river and has the potential to make a huge difference to one of our city’s greatest natural assets”.

Clr Drury will be joined by our new Vice Chair, Clr Penelope (Penny) Pedersen from City of Ryde. Clr Pedersen has a professional background as a broadcaster and presenter and is a passionate supporter of river care and conservation, who has advocated for effective environment policy at state and federal government levels.

We wish them both well in their new roles as we work together in our mission to make the Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025.

We also wish to thank our outgoing Chair, Mayor Jerome Laxale, and Vice Chair, Clr Alan Haselden.

Mayor Laxale and Councillor Haselden have both championed the Our Living River initiative over the past two years, showing great dedication and support to our many events, meetings and projects, including our annual Riverfest! event, development of the Parramatta River Masterplan and Get the Site Right campaigns.

We thank them both immensely for their commitment and support over the last two years and wish them well for the future.

From left: PRCG Vice Chair, Clr Penny Pedersen, PRCG Chair, Clr Mark Drury and PRCG Coordinator, Sarah Holland Clift. 


Developers around Parramatta River getting the message about protecting our waterways

As people enjoy the Parramatta River and its surrounds this summer, they can rest easy knowing that developers and builders are starting to do their bit to improve water quality. Results from the latest Get the Site Right erosion and sediment control campaign in November 2017 show an 11% improvement in compliance rates from the previous campaign held in May.

Over 900 commercial and residential sites across Sydney were inspected, including major infrastructure projects. Of these, almost 700 were in the Parramatta River Catchment covering the local government areas of Blacktown, Burwood, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, The Hills Shire, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Parramatta, Ryde and Strathfield. This was more than double the number of sites inspected than in the previous campaign, however less than half the value in fines was issued. Read more>


PRCG Annual Report now available

The Parramatta River Catchment Group 2016-2017 Annual Report is now available for download by clicking here. The report highlights key progress and achievements made by the Group in the last financial year, including our annual Riverfest! community celebration, Parramatta River ecological health mascots, Riverkeeper program, award-winning Get the Site Right initiative and development of our whole-of-river Masterplan.

“I am constantly impressed by the incredible efforts of our partners and community in helping to make the Parramatta River and creeks that flow into it places we can all love and enjoy,” said Clr Jerome Laxale, former Chair of the Parramatta River Catchment Group. “We thank each and every one of you for your continued commitment to work together towards this important and worthwhile goal.”