Access to the Western Treatment Plant, Werribee - Update

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Access to the Western Treatment Plant, Werribee - Update
From: "John Barkla" <>
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2008 17:23:20 +1100
On 29 August 2006 I put on posting on Birding-aus concerning impending
changes to the access arrangements for the Western Treatment Plant (this was
a long posting and if interested, you can find it in the Birding-aus
Archives by searching "access to the Western Treatment Plant").  Melbourne
Water has recently advised that these new arrangements are now to be


The following points may be of interest to birders:

1.      All WTP birdwatching permit holders (there are 566) should expect to
receive a letter from Melbourne Water before the end of 2008 (or at worst,
very early in the New Year).  The letter will advise them of the changes and
invite them to make application for a new permit.
2.      There will be a reasonable period of time (MW have advised
approximately 3 months) to allow birders to apply for a new permit before
access will be denied to G2 key holders. 
3.      As explained in my 2006 posting, the new permits will be on
different levels:

a.      the Level 1 permit will entitle birders to enter the area to the
west of Little River covered by existing permits, but not cross the Little
River; and
b.      the Level 2 permit will entitle birders to enter the same area to
the west of Little River and also the area to the east of Little River,
south of the road from the Little River ford and continuing to 280 South &
270 South Roads, which is presently allowed to all permit holders.

4.      Birders will only be entitled to apply for a Level 2 permit if they
have undertaken an Induction Course.  Details of the course will be
explained in the letter to be sent to existing permit holders.  The course
is to be conducted at the WTP on certain designated days.  Melbourne Water
has confirmed that if there is sufficient demand, they would be prepared to
run an initial course on a weekend.
5.      Level 2 permit holders will be able to continue to drive along the
road to the north of the 35 East Conservation Ponds, notwithstanding that
these ponds are to the north of the 280 South Road (new gates will be
installed to prevent access to all roads into the treatment precinct to the
north of this - no access is allowed to this area at present, so nothing has
been lost).
6.      A new barrier will be installed to prevent vehicle access north
along 95 East Road from the junction at 270 South Road.  This barrier will
not prevent pedestrian access to the 95 East Conservation Ponds, which will
be allowed.
7.      New gates will be installed to prevent all access to the 115 East
Treatment Lagoons.  These lagoons are outside the existing permits, so once
again nothing has been lost.
8.      New road and information signage is to be installed.
9.      Signs will be installed to warn birders not to cross the spillways
to the east and south of the 270 South Road Borrow Pits when water is
flowing across them.  Gates will also be erected at these spillways to allow
them to be closed if crossing would be dangerous.
10.     In the future, vehicular crossing of the 115 East spillway (the one
immediately south of the gate into the 35 East Conservation Ponds) may also
cease with a by-pass road constructed.  
11.     In my 2006 posting I anticipated that new electronic gates would be
installed and birders would be issued with swipe cards.  This will not
happen.  Instead a new series of keys will be issued to replace the G2 keys
which have been circulating for many years.  The keys to be issued to the
Level 1 permit holders will not open the new lock to be put on the existing
gate on the road on the west side of Little River adjacent to Paradise Road,
but the Level 2 permit holders' keys will. 
12.     Access to the 35 east Conservation Ponds from the north via the 65
West Road has already ceased and will not be re-opened in the future.
13.     The proposed viewing platform over the 25 West Treatment Lagoons is
still under discussion and being costed.
14.     Access to the Werribee River via New Farm Road and Boundary Road
will continue until Parks Victoria constructs a new access road to the new
Linear Park.


Whilst all of this is terribly detailed and may be confusing to birders not
familiar with the site, I hope it is meaningful to all permit holders.


I would like to make birders aware that Melbourne Water personnel
(particularly in recent times Peter Gall & Will Steele) have being very
helpful in sorting out a number of contentious issues regarding access.
Whilst birders have been visiting the WTP for many years without a single
incident (to my knowledge), Melbourne Water has a responsibility to ensure
incidents do not arise in the future.  In that regard, there has been a very
constructive dialogue between Melbourne Water, the major birding
organisations (BOCA & BA) and the members of the Melbourne Water
Biodiversity Conservation Advisory Committee.  The position outlined above
reflects that co-operation. 


John Barkla


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