Stawell a finalist in Tidy Towns awards

STAWELL - Stawell has been named as a finalist in this year's Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria's Tidy Towns - Sustainable Communities Awards.

Northern Grampians Shire Council nominated the Stawell Stormwater Alternative Natural Solutions (SWANS) Project and the St Arnaud Streetscape Project for the Tidy Towns - Sustainable Communities Awards earlier this year.

Judge Brian Winch visited the Northern Grampians Shire in June, where he was taken on a tour of both towns.

The SWANS Project has since been named as a finalist in the Water Efficiency category.

The project has provided a focus to empower and revitalise the community following extensive drought across the region between 1999 and 2010. It involved the construction of a series of water quality treatment ponds, storage dams, all necessary linkages and transfer infrastructure across the township of Stawell.

The collected stormwater is now used to irrigate sporting facilities, gardens and public open space throughout the town, resulting in potable water savings of more than 74 megalitres per annum. This has ensured the future of the Stawell Gift which was previously compromised as a result of water restrictions.

Mayor Cr Dorothy Patton said council was extremely proud of what the project has been able to achieve.

"We think this is a fantastic project and feel honoured that it has been selected as a finalist from more than 150 initiatives from right across the state," she said.

"When this initiative first started, it was something completely new for council. Our engineering department used a number of innovative methods to achieve the aims they set out and they have gained a great deal of knowledge in the process.

"The project has received a positive response from the public, mostly due to the attractiveness of the dams and the way they have helped to address local flooding issues."

A regional presentation for the 2012 Tidy Towns - Sustainable Communities Awards will take place in Stawell on Tuesday, September 11. The awards weekend will be held from September 22 to 23 in Mornington, where the winners of each category will be announced.

The SWANS project was partially funded through the Northern Grampians Shire Council, and the Australian Government's Water for the Future initiative through the Strengthening Basin Communities program.

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