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Henley Updates July 2005

For previous updates see here

In May 2005, EPA, Melbourne Water and Department of Environment and Heritage agreed to allow Heritage Golf to decant vast amounts of sediment laden construction water onto the Henley floodplain. Most of this water has come from Lake A which has been gorged with water since November 2004 after heavy rains. Alot of this water would also be groundwater which would have leached into Lake A. Is the water now located on the floodplain being monitored for sediment and toxicants? Construction water was supposed to be confined behind the global sediment trap, now we have a situation where a poorly planned development has been allowed to be given the green light without adequate thought about water management. The fact that this much water remains on the floodplain after one of the driest Autumns' on record is enough proof that Yarra Valley Golf did not properly factor in heavy rainfall events into the development plans.

Most of the water in this photo has been decanted from Lake A. It now sits on the floodplain, with some getting very close to the Yarra River (on right of screen). In the event of heavy rain we could see some of this decanted water wash into the Yarra River with unknown consequences. Lake E meantime still remains closed to the Yarra River after being severely polluted with sediment laden water in December 2004. How will the course resolve reopening Lake E with the Yarra River without serious environmental harm occurring to the Yarra River and the endangered fish habitat nearby? Almost all of the area where the golf course is to occur lies in an LSIO (Land Subject to Inundation Overlay) under the Nillumbik Shire Planning Scheme. Why was this development approved in such a risky location in land that frequently is submerged under water. What sort of precedent does a development such as this have when you will have widespread application of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides as well as heavy construction in a flood area near a river containing severely endangered native fish?

A shot of the decanted water (and Lake E) now lieing in very close proximity to the Yarra River. What will happen at this location in the event of heavy rain or more decanted water pumped from Lake A onto the floodplain? Yarra Valley Golf must be hoping that this decanted water will simply evaporate. Trouble is we are in the middle of winter and evaporation rates will be low for several months. We are also entering into the wettest months in Melbourne. It won't take much to tip this water into the Yarra. But who is monitoring the quality of the decanted water? How can you measure impact?

Decanted water probably lies within 20 metres of the Yarra River.

Lake E debacle. This naturally occurring billabong has effectively been sacrificed by Yarra Valley Golf. This artificial installation was constructed in December 2004 to stop heavily sediment laden water from leaching from the development via Lake E into the Yarra River. A clear breach of development plans.

Yarra River showing entrance to Lake E

Lake E, infested with European Carp with water quality suffering with E.coli levels 650% above SEPP Waters of Victoria Guidelines, Phosphorus 400% above SEPP Guidelines, Nitrogen 400% above SEPP Guidelines and Suspended Solids almost 400% above SEPP guidelines in late May 2005.

Drainage and erosion problems still hamper 13th hole near wetland.

Henley Flood Plain showing further water being decanted across depressions in the floodplain.

Lake A and Lake C being constructed behind Global Sediment Barrier, with a green being built between the two.

Poor creek crossing on western gully near 12th hole. Also note piles of sediment dumped on or near silt traps.

Erosion potential of track over western gully.

Gorged dam at the top of western gully. Some of the water from Lake A has been transferred to this dam. Will heavy rain see flooding occur of western gully, leading to pollution problems for the Yarra?

Construction in the mud after Lake A has been decanted.

Decanted water near Lakes O and P. Also natural billabong gorged with water from heavy rainfall 8 months ago.