EPA to host North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve community meeting
29 Mar 2017
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) will host a community meeting early in April to provide an update on the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve lead contamination issue.
The event will take place at the North Wangaratta Football and Netball Club function room, 7 Detour Road, North Wangaratta, on Wednesday 5 April from 5.30pm to 7:30pm.
The session will provide:
The reserve was closed to the community last year after lead was detected in soil samples at the site’s eastern boundary above the health limits for recreational levels.
EPA North East Manager Emma Knights said the contaminated portion of the site was currently being cordoned off and that a management plan was in place to mitigate any public health risks.
“Contractors have now put in place temporary fencing around the area of the oval that is contaminated with lead, which has paved the way for works to begin on the non-contaminated area to return it to a fit state for players to train on,” Ms Knights said.
The Wangaratta Clay Target Club can recommence shooting at its site subject to conditions in a management plan that has been reviewed by EPA.
Ms Knights said that the next step to be undertaken at the reserve would be for the development of a clean-up plan.
“Once EPA has further information about how clean up will occur it will be provided to the community,” Ms Knights said.
“On behalf of all the agencies involved in North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve lead contamination issue, I would like to thank everyone for their patience while this comprehensive investigation is occurring and we look forward to seeing the clubs return to their rightful home soon.”
UPDATE: March 7, 2016
Part of North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve to reopen
EPA has determined part of North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve can be safely re-opened to the community within weeks.
Lead contamination has impacted soil at the reserve, however the contaminated portion can be cordoned off with appropriate fencing and a management plan developed to mitigate any health risks.
We will work with the Rural City of Wangaratta (council) and sporting groups on the installation of temporary fencing and development of a management plan to ensure the community can return to part of the oval in the coming weeks.
We have advised the Wangaratta Clay Target Club (the club) that shooting activities can resume, pending approval from all relevant authorities, although all shooting must be conducted in accordance with a contamination management plan reviewed by EPA.
In response to an EPA notice, council is supporting the club to prepare a detailed cleanup plan and environment management plan for the recreation reserve and shooting range.
EPA advises that groundwater in the area may be contaminated and shouldn’t be used for drinking until investigations are completed. For uses of groundwater other than drinking, for example irrigation and stock watering, EPA encourages regular testing of groundwater to ensure its suitability for those uses.
Residents seeking further information about private water supplies should visit their website.
Please contact EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) should you require further information.
UPDATE: March 7, 2016. The Rural City of Wangaratta (RCoW) continues to manage the current contamination issue on behalf of the club. The RCoW have appointed CDM Smith as the Environmental Consultants to complete a Clean Up Plan and Contamination Management Plan covering the relevant areas of land occupied by the North Wangaratta Football / Netball and Wangaratta Clay Target Club Inc.
The clay target club looks forward to a productive relationship with the RCoW, CDM Smith and Football / Netball club going forward.
UPDATE: December 22, 2016
North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve contamination update
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has been informed that an assessment detailing the extent of any lead contamination at the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve is unlikely to be completed by its 30 December 2016 deadline.
However, to ensure the report is completed, Wangaratta Clay Target Club (the club), the Rural City of Wangaratta (the council), Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and partnering government agencies have contributed financially towards the cost.
EPA is satisfied the club has addressed the matters causing delay and with the support of council and the Victorian Government is confident that the assessment can continue without further delay.
Council will now project manage the outstanding works on behalf of the club to allow the report to be delivered as soon as possible.
Once the report is finalised, it will allow for the most appropriate clean-up methods for the reserve be identified to ensure lead can be removed or managed appropriately to reopen the reserve.
The primary objective of all agencies involved is, and has always been, to re-open the recreation reserve for use as quickly as possible while minimising any risks to human health and the local environment.
For a full version of the update, please visit the EPA website http://www.epa.vic.gov.au
The Club has requested a downgrade of Audit requirement from Section 53X to 53V. While approval for this downgrade has not yet been granted, the Club has submitted a Scope for a Section 53V Audit. EPA is evaluating the Section 53V Audit Scope request.
The Club anticipates that a revised Contamination Management Plan will be lodged with the EPA soon.
The Club sought legal opinion of a proposed Agreement with PCM Enviro (who removed lead from Club Grounds in the summer of 2014/15). The Club has forwarded to PCM Enviro a request for an Agreement to be prepared, and to include several minor additional, and amended provisions.
The Club and various Government Agencies were invited to a meeting chaired by the new EPA Regional Manager – North East. At that meeting it was evident that the Regional Manager wishes to see more progress on this matter, and to that end scheduled more regular meetings.
The Club recently attended a meeting in Melbourne arranged by the Shooters and Fishers Party, with Ministerial Advisors to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, to update on Wangaratta Club issues. Also, another meeting was recently arranged through the Ministers Office involving our Environmental Consultant Ben Lodge, ACTA and VCTA representatives, Senior EPA personnel and Ministerial Advisors. This meeting discussed the issue of Gun Clubs in Victoria more generally, and was a very positive meeting.
The Club has received confirmation from Sport and Recreation Victoria, (Department of Health and Human Services) that its application for a Grant of $31596 for replacement of DTL Traps has been successful. The Grant will be withheld until the current Environmental issue is resolved.
The Club has contacted the EPA to arrange a meeting with the members of the North Wangaratta Community Group. This will allow residents and others to discuss any questions they may have directly with EPA about the reopening of the Reserve. The meeting date is to be announced.
All members are strongly encouraged to support the Club by continuing to nominate Wangaratta as their Club, when renewing their ACTA membership. The Committee members closely involved in managing this matter, appreciate that there is some frustration among members at the continuing closure of the Club; but we remain positive and committed to seeing the Club survive and prosper. This Environmental issue can be put behind us, but to know we have your support, strengthens our resolve to continue to represent you to achieve a successful outcome. Demonstrate your support by remaining a member at Wangaratta.
Return you membership renewal to; The Secretary, Wangaratta Clay Target Club, P.O Box 334, Wangaratta. Vic. 3676.
UPDATE: September 13 - The Club is in discussion with Stephen Oxley & Co on planning and zoning amendments relating to the Club premises. The Rural City of Wangaratta is supportive of our intentions and a draft proposal will be forwarded to Council for review. This proposal may assist with the acceptance of our Contamination Management Plan, and our compliance with EPA requirements in the future.
The club has erected signage at both entry points advising that 'No Shooting Under Any Circumstances - until further advice' and has also temporarily removed the pattern plate. This will indicate to any persons entering the range of these current restrictions. All trap houses will remain locked until permission is received from the EPA to commence operations again.
UPDATE: September 8th - The Club has received written advice from the EPA that it has now revoked the Pollution Abatement Notice because the Club has met its requirements. The Club will continue to work to comply with the Clean Up Notice.
The Club is encouraged by these developments.
UPDATE: September 3rd - The long awaited report on our clubrooms, the football clubrooms and change rooms, the netball court and the children's playground has been received by the Rural City of Wangaratta (RCoW). The access restrictions on these parts of the Reserve have been lifted. Restrictions on the remainder of the Reserve remain in force. Access barriers will be repositioned, reflecting these changes. RCoW have issued a draft update of the Restrictions and that update will be displayed on the Club Notice Board and this website when finalised in the near future.
As part of the new access requirements, the club is to institute a regular monitored cleaning regime for the clubrooms which will form part of our own Environmental Management Plan.
The RCoW is planning to cut and poison grass and weeds on the Reserve to reduce fire risk before next season.
The club is currently in discussion with the EPA seeking a review of their reporting requirements.
The ACTA has agreed to a loan application from the Club for $40,000. The Club has instructed its solicitor to draw up the necessary loan documents. These funds will be used ONLY for the costs associated with the Contamination Management Plan, the Environmental Site Assessment and the Environmental Audit. The Club notes that the ACTA now has a draft Management Plan for the National Ground and that it could be made available to all clubs. However that plan is designed specifically for the National Ground and may require substantial adaptation in each case. The Club also notes the advice of the CEO of the ACTA in the September Journal; “The onus is on all clubs to ensure they are compliant with regulations of all descriptions”.
The Club has received an Agreement proposal from PCM Enviro for ongoing Environmental works for the next 25 years. That document is being reviewed by our solicitor. The Club is considering its position on this matter. The EPA may require evidence of the Club's ongoing commitment to the Environmental Management Plan.
The Club has placed an initial limit on the Environmental Audit fees of $5000 until 31 October.
The full cost of the Audit will be dependent on a number of matters which are being kept under review.
The Contamination Management Plan as prepared by Ground Corp is currently being assessed by the EPA.
The Environmental Site Assessment is proceeding and is on track for completion by the due date of 31 October.
The Club was not able to meet with the Minister for Sport as previously hoped. Instead our local Member, Tim McCurdy MP met with the Ministers advisors on our behalf. He was unable to obtain a commitment for Government assistance at this time. The Club appreciates the assistance of Mr. McCurdy.
The Club has nominated Col Crittenden to fill the vacancy on the Reserve Committee following the resignation of Brad Sparling.
UPDATE: August 12th - At a recent meeting with RCoW, DHHS, EPA and other stakeholders, the club expressed its frustration and dissapointment when it learned that the recent lead dust residue tests were not presented to DHHS in the correct format, or assessed against the appropriate standards. Council has ordered its contractor to urgently retest and report against the appropriate standards
The Contamination Management Plan (CMP) document has been completed and lodged with the EPA by the due date. The Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) document which supports the CMP with science based evidence has been signed by the due date, and that work has commenced.
The Environmental Auditor has been engaged, and it will be his role to overview the work of our Environmental Consultant, Mr Ben Lodge of Ground Corp.
The club has fully committed its available funds to all these works and is considering other sources of funds to complete them. It is doing so in the knowledge that it is better placed than many other gun clubs to manage the issue into the future.
The club understands that the Ministers for Environment, Health and Sport have each received Departmental briefing on the issues.
The club has made preliminary arrangements to meet with the Minister for Sport.
The club understands that the wider implications of the issue of lead at gun clubs is being closely followed by the relevant Departments and their Ministers.
The club has approached this matter on the basis of co-operatively addressing an issue that has been evident for many years. The club is encouraged by the many expressions of support it has received from many in the club, the community at large and community leaders.
UPDATE: July 21st - We have been advised by the local council that the recent lead dust residue tests on both the North Wangaratta Football Club and our club rooms have given both venues a clean bill of health. The rooms will be accessible shortly, after official approval is granted by council in due course.
The Environmental Management Plan as required by the EPA will be issued in the next 7 - 10 days, in relation to our club Premises. If approved by the authorities, this will be an important first step towards the re commencement of shooting activities on our grounds, excepting skeet. Further discussion, planning and work will be required before skeet can re commence.
UPDATE: July 15th - Both the North Wangaratta Football Club and Wangaratta Clay Target Club rooms were tested for lead dust residue this week. The results should be known next Tuesday 19 July. Both club rooms may need professional cleaning and re testing. Further updates to be added to website after advice is received from the local council offices in due course.
UPDATE: June 30th - The club has now received the final Pollution Abatement & Clean Up Notices from the EPA. We have accepted the information contained in these documents and our next step is to appoint an Environmental Auditor, which is currently being arranged.
The continued closure of both the Football / Netball club and our own rooms by the DHHS in conjunction with the Rural City of Wangaratta continues to remain of concern for us. Recent attempts by
our club have been made requesting updates on this issue from Council, however due to two key staff being absent on holidays, this information has not yet been available.This will be the first
matter discussed with Council on 7 July.
We would like to correct a statement made in the July edition of the ACTA magazine in the President’s Notes section, under ‘Club closure’. The correct situation is that our local council have not formally agreed to fund a cleanup, this important matter will be discussed with the council at our meeting on 07 July. Further, no date has yet been set for reopening any of our three grounds. This will not happen until an Environmental Management Plan has been completed and accepted by the EPA and a suitably qualified Environmental Auditor has been appointed.
UPDATE: June 23rd - The club has engaged an Environmental Consultant, based in Brisbane. He has extensive experience in the field and is currently engaged by another Victorian Gun Club on an environmental issue. He has been engaged to undertake the environmental planning for the shooting sports at the Commonwealth Games in Queensland in 2018.
The club has received a Draft Pollution Abatement Notice and a Draft Clean Up Notice issued by the EPA. The club was invited to discuss those Draft Notices with the EPA. The club met with the
EPA, and our consultant was connected on a telephone link. The EPA has emphasised that the Notices are "Outcome focussed, not prescriptive". The Notices include a number of options which
may be used to achieve the desired outcome. The club had a number of matters clarified, and our consultant and the club representitives were satisfied that the meeting had been useful and
productive. Formal Notices will now be issued.
Our consultant now has the task of conducting an assessment of the level and extent of the problems with lead and PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons). PAH is found in the binding agent of the Clay Targets we use. He is to conduct this assessment in accordance with the National Environment Protection ( Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999. (NEPM). He will also develop and implement a lead and PAH management plan for the club. The club accepts that we are NOT the first club to face these issues, and that resolution will take time and will be costly. Sampling conducted by the EPA confirms pollution is evident. It does not assess the level and extent of the problem.
The club is required to now retain the services of an EPA appointed Environmental Auditor who shall complete an audit AFTER the cleanup has occurred. Our consultant has this matter in hand.
The club has engaged the services of a Law Institute of Victoria Accredited Specialist in Environmental matters. He has visited the club and has received briefing on the issues. He has been in communication with our Environmental Consultant.
The club has a meeting with the Rural City of Wangaratta scheduled for 7 July.
UPDATE: June 21st - Representatives from the club met with the EPA to discuss the two draft notices that have been sent to us recently. A draft pollution abatement notice and a draft clean up notice were issued last week by the EPA, setting out their observations and requirements in regard to the pollution issues at the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve and our premises.
Our Enviro Manager / Consultant, Mr Ben lodge was linked into this meeting via a telephone hookup.
The notices require us to engage an Enviro Auditor to perform an audit of the premises and polluted areas in accordance with Sec. 53X of the EPA Act and that our enviro consultant must provide an assessment of the level and extent of contamination in the soil and groundwater on and from the premises according to the Act.
Further deposits of lead and PAH (clay targets) can not be deposited beyond the boundaries of the premises, and measures are to be installed to manage further contamination of the premises to a satisfactory level acceptable to the EPA.
The clubs consultant will also work on providing a suitable management plan that is acceptable to the EPA before shooting can resume. This plan must outline our methods to control pollution and our approach to keep pollutants to acceptable levels.
The club has also engaged a solicitor, Mr Colin Taylor, who has suitable experience and background in environmental issues. He is an Accredited Specialist of the Law Institute of Victoria.
UPDATE: 15th June - A meeting with all stakeholders took place on Tuesday evening 14th June, including the Rural City of Wangaratta, EPA and DHHS. An Environmental ‘Self' Assessment will be required by the EPA from our club, following the issue of a formal notice setting out their areas of concern. The EPA notice will be discussed with the Clubs representatives and its Consultant before it is finalised by the EPA. Access to the Clubhouse will not be permitted until concerns regarding the potential of any lead dust residue is resolved. This matter is currently under discussion between the Rural City Council, DHHS and their consultants. The club's Self Assessment and Environmental Management Plan documents and any other required certificates, will be issued in due course by the Clubs consultant ‘GroundCorp’. These documents will then be considered by the EPA and if satisfactory should be accepted. No shooting activity can happen until this stage is complete. It is envisaged that the drafting of the required documents will commence shortly.
UPDATE: 9th June - The club received good news from the EPA today that all well and bore water results have now been analysed and their is no sign of any lead contamination related to the clubs activities. The EPA draft report on the polluted land area will be released in the next few days for our consideration. Once we receive this document, it will be sent to our environmental management consultant, Mr Ben Lodge for his attention.
At our next meeting with all stakeholders on Tues. 14th June, an opportunity will be given for questions to be asked of the authorities, including the Rural City Council, EPA and DHHS. It is envisaged that a clearer picture in regard to the timeframe in resuming some operations at the club will be discussed.
Both Phil. Smith and Brian Reid were interviewed by the Wangaratta Chronicle yesterday and Brian was interviewed by ABC radio this morning. At this stage, Phil. Smith will be interviewed by Prime TV on Friday 17th June.
UPDATE: 4th June - The proposed meeting with all stakeholders on Monday 6th June has been postponed by the Rural City of Wangaratta. This is due to both the EPA and DHHS being unavailable to attend on that date. In addition, the results for the second round of water tests will not be available until early next week.
Council has advised that a meeting will be held later next week after the test results are known and both EPA Vic and DHHS can attend
UPDATE: 1st June: The club appreciates the assistance, advice and help of the V.C.T.A and Judith Kent, State Secretary, in regard to our current issue in dealing with the lead pollution concerns at the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve. The VCTA, through Judith Kent, have been in daily contact with our club and maintain a keen and very supportive interest in our situation and share our determination in getting a satisfactory resolution to this issue and that clay target shooting can soon recommence on our grounds.
UPDATE: 29 May - Our club is now waiting on the results of further water tests taken by the EPA on bores and wells within a 1km radius of the club grounds. At this stage a meeting has been tentatively arranged with authorities on Friday 3 June. By that stage more information will be known and hopefully we will have a clearer picture of the situation as it stands. Further details will be released as they are known. Thank you.
Further inquiries can be made to Mr Phillip Smith, President ph 03 57217823 or Mr Brian Reid, Vice President ph 03 57217799.