Progress made on fate of weir

SOLUTION SOUGHT: The Bangalow weir earlier this year.
SOLUTION SOUGHT: The Bangalow weir earlier this year. Digby Hildreth

QUESTIONS about the future of the Bangalow weir moved a significant step towards resolution last week with the appointment of the consultancy WBM to do an options study.

The solid concrete weir broke apart last year, becoming an eyesore in the centre of the picturesque Bangalow Park.

Byron council's opinion about the cost of repairing the weir differed from that of local groups, as did ideas about what should be done at the site.

David Pont, who is consulting on the creation of wetlands around the weir, said he expected the WBM team to come up with a workable solution that most people could live with.

There were three options, Mr Pont said: dismantle the weir, rebuild it, or effect some compromise between the two.

"Whatever happens there will be some construction costs," Mr Pont said.

"The questions revolve around how much each option costs, what the benefit is, and what the community wants.

"The options revolve mainly around the water level."

A large community meeting earlier in the year resolved that all options be considered by the council. People wanted to be able to swim and wanted the weir's heritage value to be respected, Mr Pont said.

"The engineer, Tony Baggio, received a lot of support with his concept for restoring the weir to its former level, with a fishway."

A group of locals has met the WBM team to hear the plans for the study and provide a brief.

The concrete weir is almost 100 years old and was popular as a swimming spot for much of last century. It was undermined by tree roots and broke up last year - a victim of council neglect, according to some residents.

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