Inner West Mayor elected chair of Cooks River Alliance

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne has been elected Chair of the Cooks River Alliance.

The Cooks River Alliance is an alliance of four member councils – Inner West, Bayside, Canterbury-Bankstown and Strathfield – that are working together to improve the health of the Cooks River catchment.

“I’m proud to have been elected as Chair of this very important forum,” said Mayor Byrne.

“The Cooks River catchment straddles multiple Federal, State and Local Government boundaries.

“This fragmentation of responsibility between the different levels of government remains a serious barrier to making the river healthy again. We need a unified approach,” he said.

The Cooks River is a 23 kilometre long urban waterway that has its source at Graf Park in Yagoona and flows into Botany Bay at Kyeemagh, near to Kingsford Smith airport.

While the Cooks River Alliance has delivered new momentum to help clean up the river, there is still much more to do to ensure the waterway gets a clean bill of health.

The river has suffered from extreme degradation over the years. For decades, the catchment has been stripped of its natural vegetation, while stormwater pollution and rubbish dumping have caused a severe decline in water quality.

“We must do more as a collective group to rehabilitate water quality and biodiversity in the Cooks River after tonnes and tonnes of pollution have entered the waterway for generations,” said Mayor Byrne.

“With State and Federal elections due in the next year, I intend to make the rehabilitation of the river a major election issue,” he said.

“All parties need to commit to funding and action to bring the river back to life.
“I will also be seeking to mobilise the local community to support more active and passive recreational facilities along the river. This could include sporting fields, walking and bike tracks and picnic spaces,” he added.

According to Sydney Water, which removes an average of 20 cubic metres of leaf litter, plastic and other waste materials from the river each week, the Cooks River is among the worst locations for container litter in NSW.

The Alliance is currently working on a number of projects, including the first Cooks River Catchment Coastal Management Plan.

This plan will tackle some of the biggest issues contributing to the degradation of the river, including the loss of biodiversity and tree cover in the catchment, soil erosion and sedimentation, and high volumes of polluted stormwater entering the watercourse.

For more details about the Cooks River Alliance, visit www.cooksriver.org.au.

For further information, contact John Roper on 9392 5912.

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Page last updated: 20 Nov 2018