Blue Mountains News

New culvert installed at Leura Falls Creek

By Blue Mountains City Council
Archived 20 Feb 2024 - Posted: 22 Dec 2023
Gundungurra Elder, Uncle David King, joins Council staff at the Leura Culvert site as the water diversion pumps are switched off allowing the creek to flow through the new culvert. Pictured (left to right) are BMCC Program Leader Special Projects, Mark Wiggins, BMCC Director Infrastructure and Project Delivery, Jeff Roorda, and BMCC Connecting to Country Officer Becky Chatfield.
Over 30 pre-cast concrete segments have now been lowered into place at Leura Falls Creek to form a new and improved culvert underneath Cliff Drive that will mean less disruption to the natural flow of water, and a healthier creek.

The new, larger culvert replaces the old structure that was significantly damaged by numerous wet weather events over the past ten years, including a one-in-50 year rainfall event in 2020. This was then compounded by further flooding in 2021 and two natural disasters in 2022.

While the culvert itself is now in place ahead of schedule, work continues to remediate and revegetate the steep embankment leading down to the creek line, with the project on track for completion in February next year.

Blue Mountains Mayor, Mark Greenhill, said: “This is a major milestone for a project that’s been far more complicated than it might look on paper. It’s not a case of simply removing the old culvert and dropping in the new one.

“The new culvert is significantly larger than the 1940’s structure it replaces. We’ve seen the destructive capacity of sustained heavy rainfalls in recent years, so it’s essential that new water management infrastructure like this can handle these kinds of extreme weather events to safeguard the health of our waterways.

“Less blockages and less maintenance in the future means less disruption to the natural flow of water both up and downstream. This results in a healthier creek and stronger riparian ecosystem.

“I’d also like to thank Aunty Sharyn Halls, Uncle David King and the Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) group for being part of this process and for their invaluable guidance, knowledge and expertise. This ongoing, essential conversation with representatives from the First Nation’s community leads to better environmental and cultural outcomes across the board.

“One of our primary concerns throughout the project was to minimise the impact of construction on this environmentally sensitive area. That means using construction methods that keep debris and contaminants out of the creek, minimise vibration on the nearby Chelmsford Bridge and reduce the impact of the work on vegetation as much as possible.

“With the new culvert in place we’re now working to revegetate the surrounding area with a range of new native plantings.”

Uncle David King said: “It has been great working with all the teams on this project. This site for many people has great memories. I recall talking to my Uncles in the 1970’s about the pathways to Kedumba Camp and when all the cars were removed from Bridal Veil Falls. Keeping connections to Country healthy is important for Indigenous people.”

At the start of the project, a variety of established tree ferns were removed so that they could be replanted at the end of the work. These have been tended to over the course of culvert upgrade and will now be reinstated.

Replacing the damaged culvert and rehabilitating the surrounding area is also a significant piece of the work required to make Cliff Drive safe for vehicles to use once again.

Council is currently assessing a range of matters that influence the ability to reopen Cliff Drive. Further information will be provided to the community early next year.

 
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