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Finley's 'Loco' site to be redeveloped

Loco Dam at Finley has become a public hazard and will be partially filled in, Berrigan Shire has said.

December 11, 2013 4:19am

Loco’s use as a stormwater dam has been negated by the construction of a new stormwater dam on the opposite side of the Riverina Hwy.

Berrigan Shire revealed it would be far too costly to bring the Loco site up to safety standards so has instead decided to re-landscape the area which includes filling in the ‘‘risky’’ permanent dam.

Shire enterprise risk manager Michelle Koopman said the storage dam currently holds permanent water, which will be pumped out before the dam is partially filled-in with dirt.

The area will still act as a stormwater collection point, but will be a grassy area with no permanent water.

The site, adjacent Memorial Park, is a popular spot for travellers and locals to stop and enjoy a picnic.

The landscaping project will be similar to the previous redevelopment of Finley’s Railway Park.

Council’s director technical services Fred Exton said fencing around Loco Dam was one of the main concerns.

He said the condition of the safety fences was sub-standard and a particular concern with a children’s playground only 30m away.

He said council would have to construct a pool fence around the dam to comply with safety standards, which he said would be expensive.

‘‘Michelle (Koopman) looked into the dam and its safety and prices involved with re-fencing,’’ he said.

‘‘However, the decision was made that we (council) would be better off spending the money on something permanent to eliminate the risks, rather than reduce them.’’

Mrs Koopman said the works would involve the immediate elimination of the main risk – a dam that is not properly fenced and unsafe trees at the site.

‘‘This will involve emptying and filling in the dam area (to the level of the outflow pipe), and removal of the surrounding fence,’’ she said.

‘‘In the process of beautifying and improving safety measures at Loco Dam, established trees will also most likely face removal.’’

Mrs Koopman said there were a large number of trees at the dam that are unstable and pose a risk to the public.

She said an arborist assessment was conducted on the trees surrounding the dam to identify what could be retained during the process, and what could be retained to beautify the area.

‘‘Unfortunately, the assessments have highlighted concerns surrounding the majority of the trees,’’ she said.

‘‘Some are in a moribund state, some with infestations, and others which are poor specimens which if left to grow will become problematic.

‘‘Recommendations from the arborist were to clear the site and start again with trees that are suited to the area.

‘‘However, council will try and retain some trees and following works will proceed to plant lawn and trees, similar to the beautification works at Railway Park.’’

Mr Exton said the community can be assured the town’s water storage capacity will be unchanged by the development.

He said the dam, named Loco Dam because it was once used to fill steam engines, was never a water storage facility.

Mr Exton said once works were under way the project should take four weeks to complete.

‘‘Hopefully it will be finished by the middle of February,’’ he said.

‘‘This is dependent on securing contractors to complete the works.’’

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