A FLOCK of ducks flew ahead of the punt in Browns Creek.
The natural beauty of the birds in the brilliant sunshine delighted Tidy Towns award assessor, Donna Ausling, as she looked at the results of two years of hard slog by volunteers to clean-up the creek that weaves its way through Taree.
The Friends of Browns Creek is up for a Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Award. The program fosters and recognises group and individual endeavours that protect, preserve and enhance our local environments.
The visit to Taree by award assessor, Donna Ausling, was a unique opportunity for the Friends of Browns Creek secretary/treasurer, Bill Dennis, to showcase a developing environmental asset.
Driving the punt that carried Ms Ausling, Mr Dennis said the creek inspection was an outstanding success.
He said he weaved the punt through the three-kilometre stretch of creek as Friends of Browns Creek president, Tammy Whyte, presented photos that revealed what the creek looked like before the volunteer work began.
"She couldn't speak, she found it mind boggling to see just how much rubbish had been cleared out of the waterway," Mr Dennis said.
"It was great to be able to reveal what has been done and our vision for the future of the waterway."
That vision is to see Browns Creek restored as a healthy urban waterway and fish breeding habitat, free of floating refuse, toxic substances and dumped items.
Mr Dennis said the Friends of Browns Creek was working to make the creek suitable for use as a recreational waterway with associated parklands and foreshore amenities.
"The creek has the potential to be an asset. The assessor couldn't believe this waterway was so close to the town and a television cameraman also commented that he never knew the creek existed," he said.
Mr Dennis said one of the long term objectives of the Friends of Browns Creek was to secure government funding for the construction of a boat launch site that also incorporates access structures for people with a disability.
"The waterway is perfect for canoes and kayaks as it is sheltered with no winds or strong currents," he said.
"The potential for it to be cultivated into a beautiful recreational site is being realised and we hope the creek will come to be viewed as a community asset."
Tidy Towns Award winner will be announced and celebrated on the weekend of November 1-3.