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Film highlights link between river, community health | VIDEO

 Ag and Environment
 Monday 9th September 2019
 Wimmera CMA
 File Photo; Video: WCMA

Marathon swimmer and healthy waterways advocate Tammy Van Wisse has joined Wimmera locals to put the spotlight on how the condition of the Wimmera River impacts on the region’s community health.

Wimmera Catchment Management Authority has released a short film, Waterways for life – healthy rivers, healthy communities, that checks in on how Wimmera communities have bounced back since the Millennium Drought.

Dimboola’s Amanda Ingeme said the morale during the drought from the late 1990s to 2009, which saw many sections of the Wimmera River dry out, was ‘terrible’.

“The river is a very social place, people gather. Barbecues, people just cruising on the river in their boats and fishing. That was all gone. The animal life was gone. It was just a very sad time for the township of Dimboola.”

She says that since completion of the pipeline and the return of water to the river system after the 2009 and 2010 floods, the community can now tell a different story.

“That’s the thing about the river, when we have events, the whole town comes to support it,” Amanda said.

Wimmera River Improvement Committee chairman Gary Aitken says with today’s busy lifestyles people needed to slow down a bit and take advantage of the river.

“It’s just a wonderful place to be, for the mindfulness of it all. It’s a place where people can come and recharge their batteries,” Gary said.

Wimmera River Parkrun Horsham convener Andrew Sostheim said the river was the jewel in Horsham’s crown.

“We’re very lucky to have the water here, with the environmental flows, and we appreciate the role the catchment management authority plays in keeping our river healthy. With the fishing comp, it’s fantastic to see our tourists come and everyone flock for that weekend and the community getting behind it with the volunteers,” he said.

Fishing competition committee member Debbie Breuer and Stawell Angling Club president Ray Howard also feature on the film.

“Environmental water for the rivers is very important as far as the fish life and also with the recreational value. It gets more people fishing and this is good for the wellbeing of your populations.

Even if you don’t get a fish just good to get out there. If you’ve got these environmental flows going through and producing healthy fishing, its stress-free recreation,” Ray said.

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