THE floodwaters may have subsided but it hasn’t eased the pain for Powlett River farmer Robin Lowe.
His pastures have been ruined by salt water inundation and he is now left questioning whether his pastures will recover.
He said while the artificial opening of the mouth of the Powlett River two weeks ago was somewhat of a relief, the damage had already been done.
“The water has gone and there’s going to be a bit of a mess left – rotten vegetation is going to smell,” he said.
“Whilst there’s going to be some grounds come back, we’re still left with the dilemma of what we going to do with our property.”
Mr Lowe continues to fight for a solution to the problem and wants a decision made by the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) – either leave the area to be natural wetlands, or artificially open the mouth when needed to stop flooding.
“We’ve said ‘it’s either all or nothing, either go wetlands or compensate us’,” he said.
“The farming and the wetland scenario do not go hand in hand, as much as we’d like them to.
“If it’s for the greater good and if it is truly a place of natural significance then we should support it, and clear everyone out, compensate them well so they can be happy and start work somewhere else and let it be as good as can be.
“I’m very much in favour of the environment and doing something for the greater good, but at end of day you can’t expect people to fund it through life savings of their properties.”
Following the opening of the mouth of the Powlett River on Friday, July 3, the Bass Coast Shire Council started recovery works on the Mouth of the Powlett Road and Mr Lowe predicted the workers spent up to two days making the road suitable
Mr Lowe said the greater impacts of the issue must be considered.
“Ratepayers have had to foot a fair bit of money – at least two days with graders and trucks, with more work to come with the road still closed in parts,” he said.
“All car parks are going to have to be done, so it’s interesting to know what the cost is going to be to ratepayers.”