The old saying that communities unite in adversity is probably as old as the Bangalow Weir, which has failed after 90 years of stemming floods on Bangalow Creek and providing a swimming place for the town’s residents.
As Bangalow Community Alliance spokesperson Christobel Munson says, ‘not everyone in Byron Shire lives by the beach’.
Byron Council has now fenced off the pool and commissioned a study into the options for Bangalow Weir.
Neither alternative looks rosy: spend $1 million on repairing or replacing the fractured structure, complete with a functional ‘fishway’; or demolish it and leave the aquatic fauna and Bangalow swimmers to fend for themselves.
But Bangalow residents are not ones to take things lying down. So three groups – Landcare, Bangalow Historical Society and the Bangalow Community Alliance – are holding a community forum to find out exactly what the community would like to see done about it.
The forum, to be held at Anglican church hall in Ashton Street, Bangalow, on Tuesday 7 February, will be conducted like a hypothetical and facilitated by local journalist Mick O’Regan.
The speakers will represent all points of view on the matter and additional experts will be available to be consulted.
In the lead-up to the forum, the Bangalow Museum and Tea Room has put together a display illustrating the history of the pool since the 1920s, showing how integral the pool has been to the social life of generations of Bangalow residents.
Image: Bangalow Weir has failed, leaving upstream platypuses high and dry. Photo Jeff ‘Weir-do’ Dawson