At last Tuesday night’s Council Meeting (10 April), City of Canada Bay passed a motion to nominate the River Activation of Brays Bay as their priority project for submission to the state government’s Precinct Support Scheme.
Council is seeking over $6.5 million in funding from the Department of Environment and Heritage for the design and construction of a water recreation precinct at Brays Bay in Rhodes.
The proposed River Activation includes upgrades to the adjacent foreshore, construction of a jetty or water-sport launch facilities (such as a pontoon) and investigations to determine whether Brays Bay is an appropriate swimming location on the Parramatta River.
“This opportunity is a real coup for our residents,” City of Canada Bay Mayor Tsirekas said.
“The funding would allow us to transform Brays Bay into an active river site, providing locals with a landscaped foreshore where they can go for a paddle on a hot day without having to trek east to other beaches.
“As efforts to improve water quality in the Parramatta River pay off, we can now look at natural riverfront areas as viable options for passive and active recreation for our community.”
City of Canada Bay is an active member of the Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG), an alliance of councils, state government agencies and community groups who are together working on the ‘Our Living River’ campaign to improve the Parramatta River and the creeks that flow into it.
The PRCG congratulated the City of Canada Bay for taking the next steps towards river activation at Brays Bay and making Parramatta River swimmable again.
“This is exciting progress for Our Living River,” said Councillor Mark Drury, PRCG Chair.
“Last week a playful seal was spotted splashing around on the river near Chiswick. Now City of Canada Bay Council has given its seal of approval to take river activation to the next steps at Brays Bay.”
City of Canada Bay has implemented a raft of measures to improve river water quality, including working in partnership with all other Councils and the NSW EPA on the recent ‘Get the Site Right’ compliance blitz on construction sites to prevent pollution entering local waterways.
Council also manages gross pollutant traps around our foreshore, operates street sweepers to keep our streets, gutters and parks clean, supports local volunteer clean-up groups and runs anti-litter educational and advertising campaigns to stop litter ending up in our bays.
Brays Bay is one of 12 potential swimming sites along the Parramatta River that have been under investigation for future swimming as part of the Parramatta River Masterplan.
There are already four natural swimming sites along the Parramatta River open for public swimming, including Chiswick Baths and Cabarita Beach in the City of Canada Bay, which are routinely monitored and reported to the public.
Sydney Water, another member of the alliance, has recently supported an in-depth water quality modelling study along the river to understand where natural swimming could be possible by 2025.
“Our recent modelling shows that it is possible that more swim sites in the lower parts of the river could be opened for natural swimming by 2025, including Brays Bay,” Cr Drury said.
“This will require additional planning controls for stormwater management, wastewater infrastructure and community education.”
The Parramatta River Masterplan to be launched later this year will provide the pathways for how the river will be made swimmable again by 2025. The Masterplan has been supported by all PRCG partners, with major funding support from Sydney Water and the NSW Environment Protection Authority.