By Kate Taylor
It was a who’s-who of local politics at the official start of the localised septic program in Blackwood.
Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas was joined by representatives from Moorabool Shire Council, Central Highlands Water and Western Water for the event in Blackwood last week.
In collaboration with Central Highlands Water, Moorabool Shire and Western Water, the program will replace or upgrade faulty septic tanks in the Blackwood area.
The faulty septic tanks were identified through an audit conducted by the Moorabool Shire Council.
The audit found 24 per cent of septic tanks in Blackwood had faults ranging from cracked lids to major failures.
In addition, as part of the program an independent town planning and domestic wastewater management specialist have been appointed to assist interested landowners in conducting an initial feasibility investigation into development of their vacant land.
The first round of works commenced at the start of February 2017 at eight properties throughout Blackwood and Barry’s Reef with the Stage 2 commencing in April 2017 at another 20 properties.
Locals had been lobbying for many years for a small town sewerage system, because lack of sewerage was a main reason that development in the town had stalled.
Ms Thomas said that the program would benefit current residents, the environment – and future generations in the area.
“This is a story of a community who came together. Passionate and proud. This area is the jewel in the crown of my electorate. This is a community that would not take no for an answer. Water is our most precious resource,” Ms Thomas said at the event.
Resident Brendan Hehir has been one of the long-time campaigners for a sewerage solution for the town.
“I’m thrilled. I’ve watched residences falling into disrepair over the past five years because of the no-build restriction. I’ve seen places get state of art systems put in and you can see the homes have come back from the brink. People are now able to maintain older homes. I see a lot more optimism within the commerce sector now. I see Blackwood fulfilling its potential,” Mr Hehir said.
CHW Managing Director Paul O’Donohue said that CHW would provide a support program for residents.
“To accompany the works, we will provide a support program for residents, which will include planning assistance for land owners wishing to build new on-site wastewater systems,” he said.