THE threat of soil and waterway pollution in the heart of Taree has proven a catalyst for action by the Friends of Browns Creek and NSW Crown Lands Office.
An abandoned 15-metre boat that had been dry-docked on the bank of Browns Creek has been broken down by Mills Earthmoving and removed in a bid to prevent hazardous substances such as anti-fouling paints, thinners and resins polluting the waterway that weaves its way through Taree.
The push to remove the boat came from Friends of Browns Creek and secured the support of NSW Crown Lands Office senior environmental officer, Richard Good, who led the project to remove the boat "because it was a source of pollution within Browns Creek and the Endangered Ecological Community that exists at that location."
Last week Mr Good and Friends of Browns Creek spokesperson, Bill Dennis, stood at the end of Stevenson Lane to watch the methodical demolition of the boat on the bank of Browns Creek. The removal of the boat is viewed as a great outcome by the two men who are keen to see Browns Creek restored to a healthy waterway.
According to Mr Dennis the location and deteriorating condition of the boat over the last two years had become a concern and resulted in a push by Friends of Browns Creek and NSW Crown Lands Office to find the owner of the boat.
"How the boat got onto the creek bank has been pieced together by those who have known of its presence since it was moved into the grounds of the old Haden's Engineering factory site in Stevenson Lane about five years ago," Mr Dennis said.
"The boat was bought to the Haden's Engineering yard to be restored by its owner, however the property owners got into financial difficulties and the site had to be sold. As such, all privately owned property had to be removed.
"As the boat was unable to be removed to another site the owner winched the boat out of the yard, over the bank and down into the mangroves.
"It is understood the boat owner was planning to negotiate with the new owners to winch the boat back up into the yard for completion. However, the property sale took longer than expected, with the boat being inundated during a couple of floods.
"Although the owner kept working on the boat, the site was hard to access, mosquitoes were horrendous, the vessel was continually being vandalized and tools being stolen. It appears the owner gave up and abandoned the project.
"The local crown lands office said every effort had been made to contact the owner and as the boat was systematically being vandalized, and with the risk of pollutants entering the creek it was decided to remove the vessel."
Mr Dennis added that members of Friends of Browns Creek will now work with Mr Good and NSW Crown Lands Office to restore the bank and plant out the exposed area.