$3m to clean-up the North Wang Reserve

25 Aug 2017 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Shane Douthie CLEAN-UP of lead contamination at the North Wangaratta Reserve could start within two months following the announcement yesterday by the State Government of $3 million in funding. The reserve has been closed in parts to public use for over 18 months because of lead contamination caused by the neighbouring gun club which has prevented the North Wangaratta Football Netball Club (NWFNC) from hosting any home games. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) raised club concerns about EPA delays on the clean-up last week with the Minister for the Environment Lily DAmbrosio and announced yesterday that $3 million has now been secured from the government to kick-start the oval clean-up once works have been approved by the EPA. This has dragged on for too long and now it is time to get on with it and get these grounds cleaned up and returned to the local community, particularly NWFC for the 2018 season, Ms Symes said. The announcement followed a question in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday from Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) on behalf of Nate Bartlett, NWFNC president, seeking information on whether money set aside in the May budget was in fact for the club and that further delays in cleaning up the site could see the club fold. Clean-up of the reserve will involve removal of existing oval contaminated soil, confirmation that contamination has been removed and reinstatement of the oval. The grass will also require time to regrow to playable standards. While this is a complex issue that will take time to resolve, the EPA need to get on with the job and ensure that the ground is available for use by the NWFNC for the 2018 season, Ms Symes said. I want to thank the local community, particularly NWFNC who have suffered not being able to use their home ground through no fault of their own. Rural City of Wangaratta mayor Ken Clarke said he welcomed the funding. Council will be responsible as lead contractor and well look at preparing a schedule of works so we can get moving on it, Cr Clarke said. Were hoping it will be started within two months, he said. If the work is not completed by the start of next season we would hope North Wangaratta can have some of their early home games scheduled as away games just in case. NWFNC president Nate Bartlett also welcomed the news. Its fantastic that the money is available and it will be good to finally see some action starting to happen, he said. Caption Text: SITTING IDLE: A clean-up of the North Wangaratta football ground, to address lead contamination, hopes to get under way within two months. PHOTO: Emma Hillier Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.