EPA needs to lift its game

18 Aug 2017 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Steve Kelly Unacceptable delays say MPs, pushing for club to regain ground use STATE politicians have gone into bat for a local football netball club seeking a return of games at their home ground by the start of the 2018 season. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) has called on Environment Minister Lily DAmbrosio to fire a shot into the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to make a clean-up of soil contamination at North Wangaratta Football Netball Club (NWFNC) happen in time for next seasons round one. She has also criticised the EPA on its tardiness in helping the club make a full return to its home ground. NWFNC players have been exiled from playing on their ground since May 2016 due to contamination concerns over lead found in the ovals soil. However, Ms Symes slammed the EPAs explanation of delays to the problem, which it made in last Fridays Wangaratta Chronicle, as totally unacceptable. The clean-up has dragged on long enough, and I will be calling on the Minister to direct the EPA to provide the club with specific details of the clean-up operation with firm timelines that will allow the club to be fully operational before the 2018 season commences, Ms Symes said. The North Wangaratta Football Netball Club should not have to wait two years for lead shot to be removed and their ground returned to them for full training and competition. Through no fault of their own, the club has suffered enough not being able to use their facilities, and any further delays in the clean-up is unacceptable. The response from the EPA in last weeks Wangaratta Chronicle is totally unacceptable and I will be raising the club and communities concerns directly with the Minister for the Environment, Lily DAmbrosio. Meanwhile, Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) talked with the EPA in order to achieve the same outcome and he was told if everything goes to plan access will be achieved by next year. I spoke to Daniel Wells from EPA and I was very blunt and disappointed that it has taken so long, Mr McCurdy said. The clean-up needs to be completed by January-February so the grass can be sewn, but this might bring a slight delay to play returning by a couple of weeks. I have also asked for the EPA to give me monthly updates on the progress. The EPA had reportedly told executive committee members at NWFNC that it might not be until October 2018 before they can get back on the ground, effectively preventing the club from play there for almost three years. Club members expressed their concerns over the delays which have resulted in the loss of 20 players and would contribute to lost revenue in excess of $100,000. The lead shot found on the recreation reserve oval was from Wangaratta Clay Target Club shots in the skeet discipline, a practice which was authorised and undertaken since the 1960s, without incident. Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.