TAKING out some of Bendigo Creek’s bluestones are among options on the table during a year of talks about its future.
A new plan could see some of the “beauty and splendor” found at the creek before white-settlement return, City of Greater Bendigo councillor James Williams said.
Cr Williams chaired the Reimagining Bendigo Creek committee, which was planning community consultations and listening posts from February on the creek’s next 50 years.
It would be a break with a history that had seen the creek “remodelled as a drain” in the years since Bendigo was founded, he said.
Cr Williams said ideas could include removing individual bluestones or small pockets to plant native shrubs and trees along the creek floor.
That idea was floated last year by La Trobe University students investigating ways to reimagine the creek.
“A lot of people put an emphasis on our heritage but this (the creek) is also the Dja Dja Wurrung and Aboriginal people’s heritage,” Cr Williams said.
“Only a portion of the bluestone lined channel is under heritage. I think there’s an opportunity to both engage our heritage and their’s.”
On Wednesday the committee launched a new logo by artists Racquel Kerr and Ron Kerr Jnr.
“The vision that has been painted for the Reimagining Bendigo Creek logo talks about people and their interaction with the creek and puts an empahisis back on water, on animals and life,” Cr Williams said.
The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation had played a role in thinking so far, Cr Williams said, along with Coliban Water, the North Central Catchment Management Authority and state government departments.
Cr Williams felt there was an opportunity to break with mistakes made in the past.
That could include moving away from practices that took away flora and those that created flood risks in other areas.
“By continuing to concrete-line and channelise our drainage we’ve had issued for down-stream users,” he said.
Related: Where to next for the Bendigo Creek?
Aboriginal Corporation CEO Rodney Carter said historically valuable features of the creek should be maintained.
“There’s opportunities in other areas of the creek. I think we can do modifications that would make the water courses much healthier,” he said.
Mr Carter hoped the upcoming year of work would help Dja Dja Wurrung connect with country and improve water quality.
He also wanted to see more opportunities for Bendigonians to find their own links the creek, saying many children had lost the kinds of links with nature previous generations had enjoyed.
“Our future generations should have the opportunity to go to ponds and collect insects. As I’ve aged I’ve seen our younger generations disconnecting from those fantastic, simple things drawing us to the environment,” he said.
Improving amenity and drawing more people to creek banks was something Cr Williams hoped for too.
“We’ve had some great examples of where bike and shared paths have been put in along the creek, like underpasses at the McIvor Highway and the Calder,” he said.
“They have been very well received and there is an opportunity to extend that and join up bike networks.”
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