SUSSEX Inlet residents with houses on the town’s canal system are slowly gaining ground in their battle to have the waterways dredged.
Last week Shoalhaven City Council general manager Russ Pigg conceded on local radio station 2ST that “the issue of depth of water and retaining walls hasn’t been on the front of our minds in recent times.
“It certainly is now and our asset and infrastructure team will be carrying out more work to inspect that and work out what we need to do.
“[The canals] were created and dedicated to council as drainage reserves.
“We understand the canals were constructed to meet public works standards at the time. We’ll have to do a fair bit of survey work, and that’s going to be next year before we get that audit completed.
“But council has a responsibility to maintain those drainage reserves like any other infrastructure through the city.
“There’s a lot of things to be looked at and in the short term we’re playing a bit of catch up.
“We will report to council when we have got that done,” Mr Pigg said.
Sussex Inlet resident Mike Greenwood, who has owned a house on the canal for 25 years, said it had not been dredged in that time.
He said he appreciated Mr Pigg’s acknowledgement that it was council’s responsibility and it would look into it.
“We look forward to them dredging it up again.
“My parents live on a canal on the Gold Coast and that one is dredged every two years,” he said.
“You can get away with not dredging for a few years but now we’ve got infrastructure damaged caused by the water.
“The damage where retaining walls have collapsed into the water would never have happened if the canals had been dredged regularly,” he said.
Mr Greenwood pointed out that residents on canals pay extra rates to help cover the cost of dredging and infrastructure maintenance.
“We pay a lot of extra rates compared to other properties and council has never done what they are supposed to do on their side of the canal,” he said.
“I’ve spent more than $10,000 on repairs this year.
“An electrician had to replace all the lights, and power to the jetty, and he’s found he’s going to have to dig up lawn to replace the power to garden lights too.
“The builder had to do repairs on the jetty and is going to try to stop the wall collapsing into the canal.
Mr Greenwood said he loved living on the water, “it’s a wonderful place to live.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in Florida and they’re still building canals there.
“It’s a wonderful way to utilise a swamp,” he said.