• Loddon Herald

Campground $100,000 'fix needed'

A HISTORIC camping ground faces an uncertain future if the State Government baulks at funding installation of a $100,000 waste disposal plant.

Overflowing effluent at Tarnagulla Recreation Reserve last week forced Loddon Shire Council to order a halt to camping in the historic precinct.

Discussions between council, the reserve’s committee of management and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning have since seen to closure put out to April 19.

DELWP is meeting the cost of weekly pumpouts of the septic system for three weeks.

The extension now allows the campground to be used used over Easter and the school holidays.

Caretaker Wayne Chandler said it was important for

DELWP to provide a permanent solution to the effluent issue.

“We need a proper waste dispotal plant and that would cost $100,000,” he said.

“We’re very popular with gold prospectors and the bud-get conscious.

“They love to come here and they bring a lot of business to our town - the store, the cafe, the hotel.

“We need the campground open to generate tourism in and around Tarnagulla.”

Committee secretary Wendy Sutton said: “We can have up to 20 and 30 vans here a day.

“People are just getting back on their feet. We don’t want another setback”

DELWP regional manager land and built environment Adam Melis said: “DELWP is working in partnership with Loddon Shire Council and the Tarnagulla Recreation Parks committee of management to explore solutions to an issue with the Tarnagulla Recreation Reserve’s septic system. The septic system is unable to cope with the increasing numbers of campers to the reserve.

“DELWP will provide some funding support to the volunteer committee so the septic tank can be pumped frequently throughout the upcoming school holidays so the campground can continue to operate in the short term.

“DELWP, Loddon Shire Council and the volunteer committee of management will work together to investigate options for longer term operation of the site as a public campground.”

Tarnagulla Recreation Reserve is Crown land managed by a volunteer committee of management.

Improvements to the reserve in recent years have been funded by the committee using overnight site fee donations from campers.

“We spent $21,000 on the park last year,” said Wendy.

“I’ve been involved with the committee for 40 years and we’ve had to fight many battles in that time.

“Everybody is going to suffer if the campground is closed.”

In a statement, Loddon Shire said: “Due to concerns about the leaking of effluent, which is a public health issue, council has taken action in the interests of the community and visitors. The failing septic tank system requires attention as it is currently not capable of adequately dealing with the wastewater generated.”

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