The results of our recent community survey on public access to regional waterways are in, with feedback covering river access points, community expectations of recreational trails and the restoration of waterfront reserves, and potential issues and concerns with increased patronage of our waterways.
146 people submitted responses to our online survey, which was open for 8 weeks between April and June this year. The majority were local people from Albury Wodonga and surrounding areas.
Survey responses showed that people access the Murray river and tributaries for range of reasons, the majority for walking and observing/experiencing nature. Swimming, kayaking and fishing are also popular.
The most popular access points are Noreuil Park and Gateway Island, with all currently available access points used to some degree. Priority sites for new access include to the Murray river from Gateway Island to Browns/Grays/Paradise Island, and to Wodonga creek from Gateway island and at the Kiewa river trail.
The majority of respondents wish to access continuous, natural trails along the waterways, linked to existing pedestrian and bike trails and with different types of access at regular intervals catering for a variety of users. Restoration of the natural environment to support threatened species is a priority, with many of those surveyed happy to join community monitoring and maintenance of the waterfront reserves.
Increased patronage of river trails also raised some red flags for community, including potential for physical degradation by increased human traffic and campers, rubbish dumping, unauthorized vehicle access, theft of farmers property, and harm to native wildlife.
Concerns were also raised regarding the public walking through land licensed for grazing, including potential for people to interfere with farming activities, public safety issues, questions of liability should people be injured by livestock, animal health and welfare issues and farm biosecurity.
Please see the full report here.