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Henley Golf Course Updates September 2005

EPA and Melbourne Water allow Yarra Valley Golf Pty Ltd to pump construction water into Yarra River.

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September 12 2005: Between September 11 and September 18, 2005, Coldstream recorded 60 mm of rain, Lilydale 52mm and Warburton East 83mm. Spring is the wettest time in Melbourne and the Yarra River has already started to rise after also receiving heavy rainfall upstream. Snow melt may also increase river flows over the next few months. This spring appears to be an average rainfall month, although totals recorded above are a little above average.

The above image reveals that Yarra Valley Golf Pty Ltd have been busy pumping polluted construction water from this portion of the Henley floodplain. Yarra Valley Golf Pty Ltd have been granted permission from the EPA and Melbourne Water to pipe "treated water" into the Yarra River from a position near Lake W on the eastern side of the course. It would appear that Yarra Valley Golf Pty Ltd are pumping untreated water from the western side of the course (as shown in this image) to the eastern side of the course, in the hope that this construction water will be of similar quality to the Yarra River by the time it gets filtered out by natural wetlands. It has also come to light that in the event of heavy rainfall, the EPA has allowed Yarra Valley Golf Pty Ltd, to pump polluted construction water into the Yarra River. The logic goes something like: "In the event of heavy rainfall the Yarra River can become quite turbid. During these high turbidity readings, Yarra Valley Golf can discharge their turbid construction water into the Yarra because it is of supposedly lower turbidity than the water coming down the Yarra River in times of heavy rainfall".

September 12 2005: This image reveals that Yarra Valley Golf Pty Ltd have been busy pumping polluted construction water away from this portion of the Henley floodplain to the eastern side of the development. All of the inundated land is desperately required for the highly risky construction of holes 7 and 9. A large lake will also be excavated from the floodplain which is to occur once Phase 2 gets underway. Yarra Valley Golf Pty Ltd are desperate to get the course finished by February 2006. However Phase 2 constructions can only begin once Phase 1 has been completed. February 2006 would appear to be a rather ambitious completion date.

Phase 2 operations, including an image of the highly controversial Lake E extension which will be built in very close proximity to the Yarra River. Much of the land required for the construction of holes 7 and 9 and the construction of the Lake E extension has been recently submerged with decanted sediment laden construction water. It is beyond doubt that this land is currently saturated. It is possible that the banks of the Yarra River may not be able to properly hold a construction of such a large excavation, especially if a flood event occurs during construction. River bank collapse cannot be discounted as a possibility if Phase 2 constructions are allowed to occur, as there is very little riparian vegetation to help bind the soil structure. This project gained approved under the flawed EPBC Act. Environment Australia got involved due to the presence of threatened native fish species, Macquarie Perch and Australian Grayling in the Yarra River near the location where the course is being constructed.

September 12 2005: Henley Flood plain showing other current locations of decanted water in the distance. Has the decanted water being pumped into natural wetlands been assessed? Has the water quality in the natural wetlands been assessed before this decanted construction water has been released? If not the why is the company allowed to pollute natural wetlands?

September 12 2005: Henley Golf Course Phase 1 construction works, which are occurring behind a levee, known as the Global Sediment Bund. Construction can only occur in Phase 2, after Phase 1 works have been completed. Phase 1 is still some months away from completion and works were suspended due to recent rain.

September 12 2005: Henley Golf Course construction Phase 1.

September 12 2005: Levee showing pump and pipe. Natural wetlands are now the repository for turbid construction water that was sitting on the floodplain. What impact will this turbid water have on these wetlands and why is polluted water allowed to be discharged into these wetlands? This polluted construction water is not tested before it is pumped into natural wetlands.

September 12 2005: Yarra River pollution event. Turbid water washed down the western gully discharges into the Yarra River. It would appear that very little remedial and soil protection works have been carried out along the western gully. There have been reports of 90% failure of sediment traps along the western gully, with no repair work being carried out before the rains of September 11. We were under the impression that the Yarra River was supposed to be very turbid, hence the EPA granting permission for the company to discharge construction water into the Yarra during this time. This photo reveals that the quality of the Yarra is actually quite good.


September 12 2005: Pollution occurring along western gully and highly turbid water entering the Yarra River. Photos a, c, d and e show the turbid water and its impact on the Yarra River. It is highly likely that much of this turbidity is caused by access roads and poorly maintained creek crossings. The situation is not helped by a reported 90% failure of sediment traps in the western gully.

September 2005: Failed sediment trap in western gully. Where is the EPA, where is Environment Australia, where is Melbourne Water and where oh where are the reponsible authority, Nillumbik Shire? Nillumbik Shires' role in this development fiasco has been monumental.

September 12 2005: Pump used to pipe water away from this portion of the floodplain.

September 12 2005: Barrier that was sealing Lake E from the Yarra River has been removed after permission was granted by the EPA. With the Yarra River rising after rain, this naturally occurring billabong, can now get replenished with better quality water. see here for more details So much for the Yarra River being more polluted that the wetlands on Henley Flood Plain.

September 12 2005: Extent of decanted water on floodplain reached within 10 metres of the Yarra River. Image on right of screen shows recently opened Lake E billabong.

September 12 2005: Pump and decanted water sitting on Henley flood plain. Pelican having a look too.